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Spieth Defies The Odds To Win RBC Heritage

By: | Mon 18 Apr 2022 | Comments


JUST nine days after missing the cut at The Masters for the first time in his career, Jordan Spieth bounced back to defeat Patrick Cantlay in a playoff at the RBC Heritage Classic.

The victory came as a surprise. Apart from his runner-up finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Spieth has shown little form this year. And Harbour Town Links is not a course where he would have been expected to win.

Normally a wizard with the putter in his hands, thing were very different this week. He missed an 18-inch tiddler on the 18th green on Saturday and when he three-putted for a bogey at the 11th in the final round he was three off the lead. He also missed birdie putts of 11 feet at the 15th and 12 feet at the 16th.

“I knew that hiccup on 18 on Saturday was going to cost me,” said Spieth, “and I hoped it did in a way, because if it didn’t, it would mean I just played a very average round today.”

Unfathomable, how so many things seemed to stack up against Spieth, to the point where he was where golfers never like to be – without control of the situation. “I needed a lot of things to go right,” he admitted. “It’s a bit of a surprise.”

As it turned out, this was a tournament that nobody seemed to want to win, with Cantlay, Shane Lowry, Harold Varner III, Erik van Rooyen and Sepp Straka all giving up their chances. Lowry actually had a two-shot lead as he walked to the 14th.

“There are those weeks where you feel like you played good but not good enough to win, and I honestly felt like this was that week,” said Spieth, who at 28 won for the 13th time in his PGA Tour career.

Spieth had eagled the second after holing a bunker shot and the fifth, where he holed a huge putt, but little happened for him after that.

But he breathed life into his slim chances with a 12-footer for birdie at the 13th, then hit a 173-yard approach to 10 feet at the final hole.

Spieth’s round of 5-under 66 put him in the clubhouse at 13-under 271.

 

“The hole started to look small to me. I was a bit shocked at where I was at Strokes Gained … that was pretty frustrating. I mean, I knew I wasn’t putting well, but it was certainly better than that showed.”

Lowry chipped into the water at the par-3 14th, made double bogey and saw his chances vanish.

Varner, the third-round leader, needed one more birdie to tie, but he finished with nine straight pars.

Cantlay made an 8-footer at the 71st hole to tie Spieth.

“Patrick got unlucky in the playoff,” conceded Spieth, whose playoff drive at the 18th was weak and short and his 204-yard approach bunkered. Advantage Cantlay, who had just a 9-iron in from about 170 yards and had feasted on the hole all week.

Not this time. Not on this day when Lady Luck was shining on Spieth. The ball not only found the greenside bunker, but it plugged. “Obviously,” sighed Cantlay after he bogeyed to lose, “it’s darn near impossible to get it close.”

Spieth from his juicy lie had gotten it close for an easy tap-in, which almost seemed to be part of his game plan all week. When the putter is stubborn, don’t despair; let the bunker shots and the pitch shots and the flop shots and the bump-and-runs off pine straw and between trees push you up the leaderboard.

Of course, there was time saved for a trip to the woodshed, and Spieth let himself have it over the way he thought he might have thrown away the tournament on the 18th hole Saturday.

“I was about as upset after the round yesterday as I've ever been in a golf tournament,” said Spieth. “There's just no excuse for those kind of brain-farts as a professional – to myself, but also to Michael (Greller, his caddie), who is working his butt off – to go out there and do that (when it) could have potentially affected the outcome of a tournament.”


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Tags: PGA Tour FedEx Cup





 




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