Weight of Masters meltdown finally lifted

SOUTHPORT, England – It couldn’t happen, shouldn’t happen, wouldn’t happen.

Not again.

Not this soon.

And so, in the midst of another major collapse, and with his reputation as a shutdown closer on the line, Jordan Spieth took 29 minutes to play the 13th hole Sunday at Royal Birkdale.

It was worth every surreal second.  

In what became one of the most bizarre, gutsy and exhilarating stretches in major-championship history, Spieth made an improbable bogey from the driving range, then ripped off three birdies and an eagle down the stretch to snatch the claret jug from Matt Kuchar and capture the 146th Open Championship.

“Today took as much out of me as any day I’ve ever played,” Spieth said afterward.

Spieth has long resisted historical comparisons, but he’s also a student of the game and is acutely aware of where his march on history now stands. Four days shy of his 24th birthday, he became the second-youngest player in the modern era to win three majors, behind Jack Nicklaus and ahead of Tiger Woods.

“To be in that company,” Spieth said, “no doubt, is absolutely incredible.”

The record books will show that Spieth shot a final-round 69 to post 12-under 268 to win by three, but it was his five-hole stretch midway through the back nine that made this Open an instant classic and gave him a shot at the career Grand Slam next month in Charlotte.

The epic comeback took on an even greater significance given Spieth’s recent history.  

Four-hundred-seventy days ago, halfway around the world, Spieth authored one of the biggest collapses in golf history, coughing up a five-shot lead with nine holes to play in the 2016 Masters. The past 15 months have been spent defending, rationalizing and then ultimately accepting the worst day of his professional life, and for a while Sunday it appeared as though there would be another meltdown to sort through.

That seemed inconceivable at the start of the day.

Spieth had looked unflappable for three rounds, keeping calm and pouring in putts through wind gusts and rain squalls, taking another lead into the final round of a major.

Source : The Golf Channel

posted at 24 Jul 2017 08:18:56

 



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