Augusta, Ga. – The leaderboards at Augusta National are large but, given the club’s penchant for understatement, they are not imposing. Jordan Spieth decided not to look at them Sunday, meaning that the man who created the most drama in the final round of the Masters was the most oblivious to it.
Spieth entered the final round trailing leader Patrick Reed by nine shots. He said he looked forward to a “stress-free round,” meaning he considered himself out of contention.
Whether he was being truthful or seeking a psychological edge, what Spieth did Sunday was become the seventh player in Masters history to shoot a 64 in the final round.
By avoiding looking at leaderboards all day — or so he said — Spieth avoided feeling stress and injected it into those he was chasing. He wound up finishing third, two shots behind Reed and one behind runner-up Rickie Fowler, but only after producing the kind of performance for which he is becoming known.
Spieth is the only player to finish in the top five at the Masters in four of his first five appearances. He finished tied for 11th in the other.
“It was nice,” he said. “I look back, and man, I did everything right.”
He even confronted his own demons. In 2016, he was on his way to winning a second consecutive Masters when he hit two balls into Rae’s Creek at No. 12. Sunday, he launched his tee shot to the back fringe, then held his hands high and high-fived his caddie in celebration.
“What we did on 12 [Sunday] was really cool,” he said. “I mean that hole, even when I didn’t hit it in the water in previous years, I three-putted in 2015 for bogey. So to play a disciplined shot, probably the most pressure-packed shot I’ve ever hit … was massive for me going forward.
“And in general, this round was fantastic.”
Spieth played alongside close friend Justin Thomas, who struggled with his putter and faded to a tie for 18th. “I hate to say it, but I had no chance of winning, so I was pulling for him,” Thomas said. “It was fun to watch.”
Spieth birdied the first two holes, and also made birdie at 5, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15 and 16. His drive on the final hole hit a tree on the left side of the fairway, leading to a bogey.
“I almost pulled off the impossible,” Spieth said. “And I had no idea.”