HUMBLE, Texas – For the second time in the last four years, Jordan Spieth will head to the Masters on the heels of a close call at the Houston Open.
It was four years ago that Spieth took the momentum from a playoff loss to J.B. Holmes and turned it into a jacket-winning performance at Augusta National the very next week. This time around he was a spectator for the playoff, but a final-round 66 still left him in a tie for third, three shots behind eventual champ Ian Poulter.
“I joked with (caddie) Michael (Greller), I said I don’t necessarily want to win, I want to get close because that looks like 2015,” Spieth said. “I mean, I’ve played really poorly here and had the lead on the back nine of Augusta twice. I’ve played well here and won there. It’s just a crapshoot, it doesn’t really make a difference.”
Spieth entered the day four shots off the pace and had set a goal for himself of making three birdies on each nine in order to give himself a chance to rally for his first win of the year. He did one better on the front, carding two birdies and an eagle to get within two shots of the lead, before a bogey on the 10th brought his rally to a halt.
Spieth’s goals early in the week were limited to making the cut and shooting at least one low round. Having accomplished both with ease, he’s once again brimming with optimism as he renews his quest for a second green jacket after contending deep into Sunday despite largely struggling all week on the greens.
“I believe going into next week that I have an opportunity to win, no matter how the state of my game is the previous week,” Spieth said. “But the progress that was made in the last eight or nine days has been as much as I’ve made in any eight or nine days in my career, and I need to continue to do that. There’s a lot of work left.”