Jordan Spieth, leading by one overnight, ripped his opening drive on Sunday at the Charles Schwab Challenge, 298 yards down the middle.
Seventy-two uncomfortable swings later, he was shaking champion Jason Kokrak’s hand.
Spieth, who made just two birdies in his opening three rounds at Colonial Country Club, bogeyed the par-5 first – from the fairway – in the final round and added more at Nos. 3 and 4.
Kokrak wasn’t much more consistent on Sunday, but he only needed 70 strokes to turn a one-shot deficit into a two-stroke triumph. After claiming his maiden PGA Tour victory late last year at Shadow Creek, he’s now one of two multiple winners on Tour this season (Stewart Cink, Bryson DeChambeau).
For Spieth, however, it was a missed opportunity, knowing that just an average round might well have been enough for his second win of the season.
“I could have shot even par today and won the golf tournament, but from the very get-go, just a really bad start, and then tried to fight my way through it,” Spieth said. “But I was just really off with my golf swing. I really lost it this weekend. You just have to be in control around Colonial.”
Spieth ended the day with five bogeys and two birdies. He lost strokes to the field in strokes gained: tee to green, approach the green, around the green and putting.
“I was taking the club back and had no freaking clue where it was going to go,” he said. “It's very rare that you're in the lead or close to the lead on a Sunday when that's the case, and it's not the most enjoyable feeling, but I've never been shy on grit, and really belief, in knowing that anything can happen. It was with me ‘til the end, until the shot came off left on 18.”
Trailing by one on the final hole, Spieth’s tee shot finished in the right rough. From 162 yards, his runner raced left of the green and into the water hazard, relieving any pressure felt by Kokrak.
There is no time to hang his head, however, as Spieth is playing the upcoming Memorial Tournament and the U.S. Open is just over two weeks away.
After opening in 63-66-66, and not making a bogey until Saturday, and earning his sixth top-5 finish of the year, there are plenty of positives as Spieth moves forward.
“I putted really well this week. I made a couple really nice par saves on putts that had to start outside the hole in ranges where I just kind of have been struggling to hit really solid putts and I thought that was a big move,” said Spieth, who noted after Thursday’s 63 a recent change in his putting “feel.”
“And then I've been striking the ball beautifully this year and I just have to hit the reset button tomorrow and get to work the next couple days and not let this weekend throw me away, and look at the positives of the ball-striking and look at the positives of the putting.”