Spieth rallies to win Colonial; put Masters memories behind him
FORT WORTH (AP) – Jordan Spieth found the perfect cure for his Masters misery.
With an impressive back nine at Colonial, Spieth won at home in Texas for the first time on the PGA Tour. He had three consecutive birdies after making the turn, and three more in a row to finish his 5-under 65 on Sunday, including a chip-in birdie from behind the 17th green after a fortunate bounce off a marshal.
The second-ranked Spieth punctuated his eighth career victory with a 34-foot birdie putt when he needed only a bogey to win the Dean & Deluca Invitational.
At 17-under 263, Spieth finished three strokes ahead of Harris English (66). Colonial member Ryan Palmer and Webb Simpson tied for third at 13 under, both shooting 68 in the final group with Spieth.
Last month at Augusta, Spieth blew a five-stroke lead on the back nine when trying to win the Masters for the second year in a row. There was then an extended break before he missed the cut at The Players Championship and then finished tied for 18th a week ago at the Byron Nelson before finally winning in the Lone Star State after three runner-up finishes there, including Colonial last year.
”The significance of it happening now … because I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get over the hurdle of having to come in to every single interview room, having to listen to crowds only talk about what happened a month ago,” he said. ”And it’s very difficult, and I’m 22. It’s not like I hadn’t won, and we’ve won two majors.”
He is the reigning U.S. Open champion, and will be trying to defend that title at Oakmont in three weeks.
”The nerves hit me more than I think they should have or normally would just from the start of the round today, and that’s probably it,” he said, referring to Masters.
There was also the guy in the gallery at No. 10 that yelled out ”Remember the Masters, Jordan” and other similar comments. While Spieth wasn’t sure if they were positive or negative reminders, they certainly provided some motivation.
Spieth made a curling 20-foot birdie at the 10th before a pair of short birdies, then hit a wayward tee shot at the 192-yard 13th, almost immediately pointing his 7-iron to the left and shouting ”Fore!” He yanked his ball out of the bunker over the green before a chip to inside 3 feet for a bogey.
Then at 14, after hitting his drive into a fairway bunker and shouting after his approach short of the green, he saved par with a 14-footer that rolled just to the right edge before falling into the cup.
After a 20-foot birdie at the par-3 16th, Spieth hit a wayward tee shot at the 17th. The ball ricocheted off the lower leg of a marshal and avoided going into much heavier rough. Spieth signed a glove ”Thanks” to the marshal, but his approach from 173 yards sailed over the green before he chipped in after relief because it landed against a temporary grandstand.
”One of the luckiest holes I’ve ever had personally. I hit a guy on the side on the tee ball that goes into the first cut, and then I get that drop and then chip in,” he said. ”If I’m anyone playing against me, I’d be pretty upset at that.”
Nearly two months before his 23rd birthday, Spieth broke a tie with Tiger Woods for wins at age 22 or younger. The only player with more that young was Horton Smith with 14 from 1928-30.
When the final group was introduced before teeing off at No. 1, in the shadow of the Wall of Champions, the applause and cheers for Palmer were as loud as those for Spieth.
Palmer opened with consecutive birdies to go a stroke ahead of Spieth for the lead. He got to 14-under after a 12-foot birdie at No. 7, which he followed by reaching back for a hand slap with caddie James Edmondson, the four-time Colonial club champion. That was his last birdie until the 18th.
”The energy out there was spectacular,” said Palmer, who had his best finish in 13 starts at Colonial. ”You couldn’t write a better script for sure. … Watching what Jordan did, it shows you why he’s where he’s at.”
David Hearn was the top-finishing Canadian. The Brantford, Ont., native carded a final-round 68 to tie for 17th at 5-under. Abbotsford, B.C. natives Adam Hadwin (-4) and Nick Taylor (+1) tied for 22nd and 47th respectively.