Spieth: 'Could have shot 59' in final round of Masters
April 25, 2018
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
AVONDALE, La. – Upon reflection of his near-historic performance earlier this month in the final round of the Masters, Jordan Spieth realized one thing – his ball-striking was good enough to shoot 59.
“Actually thought I truly could have shot 59 without doing much more other than making a few more putts,” Spieth said Wednesday on the eve of this week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans with partner Ryan Palmer. “I put myself in opportunities on each hole to shoot 59 that day, which is really, really cool.”
Just nine rounds in the history of the PGA TOUR have been 59 or lower – and none have come in majors. The lowest in major championship history came at last year’s Open Championship, when South Africa’s Branden Grace shot 62 on the par-70 Royal Birkdale.
Spieth didn’t need 59 to win, but he did need 62 to force a playoff with eventual champion Patrick Reed. Spieth started the day nine shots off the lead but had come all the way back to grab a share of the lead. Through 16 holes, he was 9 under on his round. He needed one more birdie in his last two holes to tie Grace’s record, and force Reed to make a birdie down the stretch in order to avoid a playoff.
Instead, Spieth’s tee shot at 18 clipped a tree branch and he ultimately bogeyed the closing hole for an 8-under 64 that left him at 13 under and solo third, two shots behind Reed. Had Spieth won, it would’ve been the greatest final-round rally in Masters history. As it was, he tied the record for lowest score in the final round.
Spieth said Wednesday he went back and watched video of his Sunday performance.
“I wanted to learn a bit from it,” Spieth said. “I felt like Houston [the week before] but really at Augusta was the best my swing has ever held up under the gun. Especially my driving, I really felt like I drove the ball beautifully on Sunday, especially when I started to get closer and closer and could feel being in the tournament.”
He also “was interested in kind of how it looked from the viewer’s perspective. It was really cool to see. I knew how I was feeling and thinking, and I didn’t realize the timing of when I tied it up.”
Spieth was most encouraged by the way he was striking the ball, saying he was “a little more stable and patient in the swing.” That’s something he hopes to continue as he enters the heart of the 2017-18 PGA TOUR season, as well as improve his performance on the greens; he ranks a surprising 183rd in strokes gained: putting this season.
Perhaps the 30-foot birdie putt at he made on the 12th hole – which had not treated him well in recent visits – will help flip the switch.
“To hit some of those putts under pressure and see some go in I think will be very beneficial going forward this year,” Spieth said. “It very well could be a spark for a really solid year.”