AUGUSTA, Ga. — Jordan Spieth played the final round of the Masters precisely how he planned — which is why he couldn’t believe his run at another green jacket Sunday turned into one of the worst rounds at Augusta National in his young career.
He was still shaking his head in disbelief when he walked off the course.
Spieth, the 2015 Masters champ, began the day at 4 under, two strokes behind co-leaders Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia and was thrilled about his chances of winning his second Masters. Instead, Spieth opened with bogeys on two of his first three holes.
It took a late run to get to 75, a score he shot here in the opening round and his largest number in 16 career rounds at Augusta National.
Spieth wound up eight shots out the playoff and scratching his head why what he saw unfold on the course did not match up to his bogey-filled scorecard.
He said the results weren’t shocking, “just a little bizarre.”
Spieth was filled with positive vibes from his comeback over the past two rounds. After opening with that 75, which included an ugly quadruple-bogey 9 on the 15th hole Thursday, Spieth made only three bogeys the next 36 holes to shot 69-68 and close in on the leaders.
With positive memories from his first major title here two years ago and picture-perfect conditions, Spieth was eager to embrace the challenge of moving up the leaderboard. But Sunday, he had just one birdie to go with five bogeys and a double-bogey 5 on the 12th hole when his tee shot went in the water to fall out of contention.
Spieth thought distance control was his undoing in the final round. He said when he hit crisp, high arcing shots often they landed a yard or two into the rough, making it difficult to navigate the subsequent approach.
“It’s a coin flip, is it going to jump or come out spinny,” Spieth said. “And I missed those coin flips, five for five. I lost five coin flips on my guesses. But they were all good swings and I was proud of them.”
Still, it was easy to sense Spieth’s disappointment detailing his miscues after the round while Garcia and Rose were locked in battle that eventually was won by the Spaniard in a playoff.
Spieth stopped each time the huge gallery shouted while Garcia and Rose putted out.
“Oh, two misses,” Spieth said as he looked toward the scoreboard.
Spieth used a late rally to control the damage in his round, making birdies on the 15th, 16th and 18th holes to finish at 1 under overall — the fourth time in four career appearances he broke par at the Masters. He tied for 11th, ending a remarkable run of finishing second, first and second the past three years.
“I’m really pleased with the way we finished this round to get back to red” under par numbers, Spieth said. “Because for a while there, it was ‘What are we doing?’ And I wasn’t doing much wrong and that’s what was so tough.”
The 23-year-old from Dallas won’t spend too much time worrying about what happened this week, confident that his demeanor, poise and attitude throughout will serve him well the rest of the season. There are many big tournaments ahead and Spieth believes how he played will help him contend in them all.
“It was the most free that I’ve ever felt at Augusta National,” he said. “So be it that I end up shooting one of my worst rounds.”