Jordan Spieth was cruising to a wire-to-wire win at the Masters when things had to chance to get shaky on the back nine. That’s when Spieth hit what he called “the two biggest shots of my life” to seal his first career green jacket.
The moment came just after hole No. 12, where Spieth had what he described as a “kind of a dumb 3-putt” on the par-3. The bogey dropped him to 17-under. At the same time, Phil Mickelson birdied the hole ahead and suddenly Spieth lost two strokes on his lead, which was down to four with six holes to play.
So when Spieth teed it up on No. 13, this was the first time all day when some started to wonder if the 21-year-old would start to tighten up. Instead, Spieth hit a perfect 3-wood, and by his reaction, you could tell he knew he hit it well.
“[I] got a nice little hook on the ball and a really good bounce to get up there to a comfortable 5‑iron in,” Spieth said after the tournament, with his typical understated recollection.
A couple of nice bounces followed by a little roll and the ball nestled right down in the elbow, leaving himself about 210 yards to the pin.
Spieth might describe his second shot as “a comfortable 5-iron,” but there is nothing comfortable about trying to reach a par-5 green in two with the hole just on the other side of a creek and an uneven lie with the ball sitting about well above Spieth’s feet.
Spieth had to hit this shot from the side of a hill.
The announcers even speculated that Spieth would lay up because, as they noted, “you’ve got to pick and choose where you challenge this golf course.”
But to their surprise, Spieth didn’t lay up. He went for it, gave it a full swing, encouraged the ball by yelling “GO HARD!” and hit a gorgeous shot to within 12 feet for an eagle putt.
Spieth had played the hole perfectly.
Spieth would miss his eagle putt but left himself an easy birdie putt which he sank to move back to 18-under.
Just as importantly, moments earlier, Mickelson miss-hit his approach shot and would go on to bogey hole No. 14.
Just like that, Spieth’s lead was back to six shots over Mickelson and five shots over Justin Rose.
There were still five holes to play. But at this point, the Masters was over and Spieth was the champion.
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