Jordan Spieth has never finished worse than second at the Masters and, this year, finishing first is the only thing that will wipe the memory of 2016 for good.
In the last three years, he’s been in the final pairing every time. This year he’ll have to make do with coming from behind after his third round 68 left him two shots back in a tie for fourth.
And, to him, that’s just fine.
“After the first round I couldn’t ask for much better than this,” said Spieth. “New experience coming from behind at Sunday at the Masters, which is kind of fun to say.”
Spieth collapsed at Amen Corner last year, sending two into the water at 12 and walking off with a quadruple bogey. This year, he’s made par every time at Augusta National’s most famous par-3.
In fact, his travails at 12 aren’t even a talking point anymore. The black mark now is a quadruple bogey nine at 15 on the first day, which led to him being ten shots back after the first round.
Spieth says he’s effectively already overcome that mentally.
“I knew if I could work my way back to par in the second round, I know I could shoot ten under over two rounds,” he said.
“Yesterday’s round was huge and bigger than today’s, in my opinion. Last night I went to bed with my heart pumping faster.”
I plan to play aggressive - it's win or go home
No player has won the Masters with such a quadruple bogey on their card. Regardless, he’s still going to play positive golf.
“I plan to play aggressive because at this point, it’s win or go home. Finishing fifth versus tenth doesn’t mean much to me.
“I’ve done a great job last two days. I may as well swing freely, play with confidence, it’s about not giving much of anything away this week. It’s been a really good mentality for me.”
Spieth went out in 33 today, and hit some miraculous shots in that nine, including a high-cut 6-iron into the seventh green following a long and, at times heated, discussion with caddie Michael Greller.
At the 13th, he gave himself an eagle opportunity from 230 yards off the pine straw. He tapped in for birdie, enough to get within two of Hoffman.
A lay-up at 15 left him a wedge into the green, which he hit stiff then tapped in for birdie.
Fist-pumping whilst watching playing partner Phil Mickelson approach the green, he was in full Spieth mode, and loving every minute. “I had to have momentum today,” he said. “Yesterday I felt great coming off the round and I continued that today. I wanted to shoot four under today and I’m in a great position to make some noise early and hold it up.”