Monday, April 11, 2016

Jordan Spieth collapses on back nine, as quadruple bogey sends him to Masters misery

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Jordan Spieth spoke on Friday night about 2-foot comeback putts being one of the toughest parts of Augusta National.
A different seemingly simple shot did him in on Sunday.
Spieth took the Masters by the reigns Sunday, and then fumbled it all away. After moving his lead to five by mid-day, Amen Corner did him in, as Spieth followed a bogey at 10 with another at 11, and then … a quadruple-bogey 7 at the 12th.
Yep, a quad. From the young master of Augusta himself.
“I didn’t take that extra deep breath and really focus on my line on 12,” said Spieth, who fell short of defending his title and becoming the first player to ever repeat in wire-to-wire fashion at any major. “Instead I went up and I just put a quick swing on it.”

The 12th hole, a par 3 that sits just 155 yards, has long been one of Augusta’s most beloved but also one of its most feared holes on the complex. For most pros, it should be a simple tee shot with a high iron. But add in a shallow green, swirling winds and water fronting, and matters get exponentially more difficult.
And then there’s the fact that it was Sunday at the Masters.
“Tomorrow, every single shot is heightened,” Spieth said Saturday night.
Boy, was he ever right. Spieth had complete control of the tournament through 63 holes on a golf course he loves, and then he threw it all away.
It was – no other way to put it – shocking.
His romp to victory appeared to start at the par-4 sixth, as he rolled in a 15-footer to move to 4 under. Then came a stuffed approach on No. 7, a 7-foot birdie roll at the eighth and a 21-footer right in to end the nine.
All of a sudden, Spieth was 7 under and five ahead. Then, the breakdown.
A bogey-bogey start to the back nine wasn’t auspicious, but Spieth was still in control at that point. Marked for the poise and maturity of a man well beyond 22 years old, Spieth then made the remarkable brain cramp that would cost him the tournament on 12 tee.
“I remember getting over the ball thinking, I’m going to go ahead and hit a little cut to the hole and that’s what I did in 2014 and it cost me the tournament then, too,” Spieth said. “That was the right club, just the wrong shot. I was more comfortable hitting a draw with my iron.  I knew every time I played a fade this week, that shot kind of came out. So, ultimately I should have just played a draw on that hole.”
His ball found the bank fronting the green and rolled into the water. Dropping from 80 yards away rather than 65 to get the full spin on a wedge, Spieth chunked that shot short into the water. So short, in fact, it didn’t come close to reaching the halfway point of the pond.
“I’m not really sure what happened on (that) shot,” Spieth said. “I just hit it fat.”
Spieth hit his next shot into the back bunker, knocked his next up to 3 feet, drained the putt, and, voila, a quadruple bogey. From leader basically all tournament, the  22-year-old was now 1 under and three behind Danny Willett.
He actually played 1-under golf from there, but his quad had dug him too deep a hole and would have him finish in a tie for second, three behind Willett.
For as difficult a drop as this may be for Spieth, well, he’s still only 22 years old and still possesses two majors and seven PGA Tour titles at such a young age. And one could surmise that Spieth had this collapse coming this week.
He was brilliant in Round One with a flawless 6-under 66, but after that, it was chunks of great play spliced together with a boatload of mistakes.
Spieth had 22 birdies for the week but he also carded four double bogeys or worse. One of those doubles came as he opened a five-shot lead early Friday. He finished the third round bogey-double bogey after appearing like he would open up a sizable lead heading into Sunday.
Really, despite leading for almost the whole tournament, Spieth didn’t have it all together.
“I had my B-minus game tee to green, and I made up for it around the greens with my putter,” Spieth said. “Ultimately you just have to have your ‘A’ game (for) every single part.”
You could chalk this loss up as a learning experience if you want, but Spieth said he’ll need some time to get over frittering away major No. 3.
“Big picture, this one will hurt,” Spieth said. “It will take awhile.”



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