Jordan Spieth addresses Dean & DeLuca crowd after win in Fort Worth
The catcall, as Jordan Spieth recalled, came at the 10th hole during what he views as a career-turning Sunday victory at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.
A fan urged him to “Remember the Masters,” a place where Spieth experienced both the greatest triumph (2015) and biggest disappointment (2016) of his PGA Tour career.
Unsure whether he was hearing from friend or foe, Spieth used the comment for motivation to trigger a three-birdie barrage that morphed into a six-birdie back nine while securing a three-stroke victory at Colonial Country Club.
“Either way, there’s a little red-ass in me, and it came out on the next few holes,” said Spieth, whose closing 65 included three-birdie runs at Nos. 10-12 and over his final three holes while posting a 17-under-par total to defeat runner-up Harris English. “It’s motivating because you want to get back on top.”
No matter what happens in the next 30 years of my career, this will be one of the most important days that I’ve ever had. I really felt the pressure today to get back on top.
Colonial champ Jordan Spieth, reflecting on recent Sunday swoons at the Masters and the Byron Nelson.
That is where Spieth finished at Colonial after a stellar Sunday stretch that covered up bad memories of his final-round collapse at last month’s Masters Tournament and last week’s closing 74 that took him out of contention at the AT&T Byron Nelson.
This time around, the Dallas resident and No. 2 player in the world golf rankings spent Sunday night hoisting the Leonard Trophy and celebrating his first PGA Tour triumph in Texas.
“No matter what happens in the next 30 years of my career, this will be one of the most important days that I’ve ever had,” Spieth said. “I really felt the pressure today to get back on top.”
Spieth, 22, got there in both conventional and unconventional manner during the course of a six-birdie, one-bogey round capped by a 30 on the back nine.
Immediately after hearing the heckler, Spieth buried a 21-foot birdie putt at No. 10, added a 3-footer at No. 11 and finished with a 4-footer at No. 12 to regain the lead after posting nine consecutive pars to begin his round.
But the unconventional stuff will be remembered most, starting with a 45-foot par save at No. 8 that triggered a fist pump and a momentum shift. Spieth also buried a 14-footer to save par at No. 14 while sharing the lead with English, setting the stage for a three-hole closing stretch for the ages.
Spieth, the 54-hole leader, rolled home a 20-footer with significant right-to-left break at No. 16 to take a lead he would not surrender down the stretch. But he sealed the deal at No. 17 with a no-putt birdie that included a drive that glanced off a marshal’s shoe, an approach that caromed off a grandstand and a chip-in birdie from 42 feet in rough behind the green.
After striking the marshal with his tee shot, Spieth handed off a signed golf glove to the man he hit before airmailing the green with his approach. Because it struck the grandstand, he received a free drop.
“It went to a decent lie where I didn’t have to try and play an explosion shot,” said Spieth, who responded with what he called “a little knuckler” that landed on the fringe and disappeared into the cup.
“If I’m anyone playing against me, I’d be pretty upset at that,” Spieth said, smiling broadly while wrapped in a plaid jacket. “That was one of the luckiest holes I’ve ever had.”
Colleyville resident Ryan Palmer, a Colonial member who tied for third while playing in Spieth’s group, said late-round magic from the two-time major champion was something he anticipated.
“You can almost laugh at it,” Palmer said. “As soon as it landed on the green, I was like, ‘That’s in the hole, no doubt,’ because of the way he reacted.”
On a day when he needed just 24 putts to complete his round, it seems appropriate that Spieth’s final stroke on his way to securing a Colonial title resulted in a 34-foot birdie putt at No. 18 that brought the fans to their feet for a third consecutive time over the closing holes.
Fort Worth was the first one. For me, that’s very special ... I love the way that we play this golf course. It fits my game very nicely.
Colonial champ Jordan Spieth, on securing his first PGA Tour win in his home state
Spieth’s 65 matched his low round of tournament week, despite splitting only 8 of 14 fairways and finding just 12 of 18 greens in regulation.
But his short game ruled the day, allowing Spieth to secure his first tour triumph in Texas and his first victory at any tournament in the Lone Star State since the 2012 Morris Williams Intercollegiate event during his lone season of college golf at Texas. Spieth has talked frequently about a desire to win in his home state after runner-up finishes last season in Houston, San Antonio and Fort Worth.
“Fort Worth was the first one,” Spieth said. “For me, that’s very special, being a Dallas-Fort Worth Texan. This is a very special place to me. This tournament gave me a [Champions Choice] exemption back in 2013 when I was searching for exemptions. They gave it to me before I even had PGA Tour status, so I actually owe a lot to this event. I love the way that we play this golf course. It fits my game very nicely.”
Now, it is the site of a career milestone: Spieth’s first tour triumph in Texas. Thanks, in part, to some extra motivation from a heckler who helped Spieth take his game to a higher level during a birdie-filled back nine.