Jordan Spieth stood on a ledge overlooking the 18th green and watched Chris Kirk sink a 7-footer that officially knocked Spieth out of contention in the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
Spieth jumped down and headed for post-round interviews as the crowd let out an obligatory ovation for Kirk. No offense to Kirk, but the spectators wanted a dream playoff scenario featuring the local-area kid from Dallas, Spieth, who has taken the golfing world by storm since winning the Masters last month.
But Spieth didn’t have many complaints after firing a 5-under 65 on Sunday. Sure, he would have liked to roll in a few makable birdie putts and take back a costly bogey at the par-3 16th. All in all, though, Spieth had his chances and put himself right in the mix to the end.
“I approach this tournament like a major championship, and I didn’t think I played extremely well this week overall,” Spieth said. “But I gave myself a chance with these mid-range putts to win.”
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Spieth couldn’t have asked for a much better start.
He opened his round birdie-birdie and then drained a 27-footer for birdie on No. 5, the hardest hole on the course. That hole, in particular, gave Spieth the most trouble during the tournament as he bogeyed it Saturday and triple-bogeyed it Friday.
Spieth carried that momentum into the par-4 sixth with another birdie, burying a 23-footer for birdie. He kept giving himself chances, too.
Spieth had 10- to 15-footers for birdie on Nos. 7, 9 and 10, but ended up settling for par on each.
“I had my chances, I really did,” said Spieth, who went into Sunday thinking he’d need to get to 12 or 13 under to win.
“We got a tough break with the rain coming in on those hard holes on 7, 8, 9 [and 10]; I played them even and probably should have played those under par for where I was.”
Spieth eventually got his putting stroke back on No. 13, riling up an already rowdy crowd by sinking a 15-footer for birdie to pull to 11 under.
That put him among the leaders for a moment before he gave a costly stroke back on the par-3 16th with a three-putt. Spieth’s tee shot on the 184-yard hole found the back right of the green, more than 50 feet from the pin.
But Spieth gave a good effort on the downhill birdie putt, almost making it before it lipped out to 7 feet away. He then missed the comebacker from 7 feet, dropping him back to 10 under.
Is he going to lose some sleep on that one?
“I just played the hole very poorly,” Spieth said of his lone bogey. “Very bad decision on the tee. I picked the wrong club. I would have been below the hole and with par as the worst score, instead you just can’t be above that hole.
“Almost made some fireworks happen with the bomb, but just wasn’t confident on the read on the next putt. … No, it won’t haunt me. What will haunt me is the decision off the tee.”
Spieth rebounded on the 18th to get himself back in contention, making another lengthy 18-footer for birdie for a final score of 11-under 269. But all he could do after that was wait and see if it would be enough to force a playoff.
He hit a few balls off the No. 1 tee box with Jason Bohn, who posted an 11 under earlier in the day. But he headed back to watch Kirk on the 18th, and saw his plaid jacket hopes vanish.
Still, the showing marked Spieth’s third runner-up finish of the season, all coming in Texas tournaments. He was second to Jimmy Walker at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, and lost in a playoff to J.B. Holmes at the Shell Houston Open the following week.
However, the week after Houston, Spieth went on to win the Masters. So maybe this is a sign for him going into next week’s AT&T Byron Nelson Championship in nearby Irving.
As Spieth said, “Next week, I’m really confident. I have more experience there than I do here.”
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760