ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – The Spieth Slam is no more. Not until next year, anyway.
Jordan Spieth finished bogey-par to come up one shot shy of getting into a playoff with eventual champion Zach Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman. Spieth’s birdie attempt at the 18th came within inches, but that won’t be where fans and media lay blame for years to come.
After having the worst putting round of his career earlier in the week, Spieth’s putting woes continued mid-round on Monday. At the par-3 eighth, Spieth hit his tee shot middle of the green to a back left pin tucked only nine paces on. He blew his first putt off the green entirely and knocked his third shot to about 4 feet. He failed to make that to salvage bogey, and his double bogey knocked him three off the lead at the time.
"If you make bogey, you're still in it," Spieth said. "If you make double bogey, it's a very difficult climb, and there's absolutely no reason to hit that putt off the green. I can leave it short, I can leave it 8 feet short and have a dead straight 8-footer up the hill where I'll make that the majority of the time. My speed control was really what cost me this week, the five three-putts the second round, and then just my speed control in general wasn't great."
All was not lost, as Spieth bounced back immediately with birdies at Nos. 9 and 10 to get back to 14 under and within one of Leishman.
Leishman and Johnson later posted 15-under totals, and Spieth stood on the 16th tee one shot back. He made birdie at 16 by rolling in a curling 50-footer and needed pars at the closing two holes to get into a playoff or a birdie for a possible win.
Instead, he knocked his approach into 17 short, and failed to get up and down.
"That was as hard a par 4 as I think we've played all year," Spieth said of No. 17, which ranked as the most difficult hole at St. Andrews this week. "Just unfortunately didn't hit a great very, very solid putt. So many putts are so straight out here, and I read too much into it instead of just playing it off the left lip, and it was unfortunate at the end."
Needing birdie at the 72nd hole to get into the playoff, his approach into the 18th green spun off the front - for the second day in a row - and his putt back up the hill missed by inches. He tapped in for a final-round 69 and a 14-under total, one shot out of the playoff.
"I really played a solid round of golf. I didn't miss many chances, other than No. 8, I thought it was perfect. Obviously 17 and 18 could have been a little different, but I struck the ball phenomenally well, I drove the ball as good as I've driven it this entire year, including the other majors and every other tournament."