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Jordan Spieth is coming for Rory McIlroy at the Masters

Jordan Spieth gains confidence for the Masters with playoff win at Innisbrook, his second career victory on the PGA Tour and third worldwide win in the last four months.

Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Rory McIlroy, wherever he was on Sunday evening, may have heard the roar from the 17th green at Innisbrook as Jordan Spieth drilled a birdie putt for the Valspar Championship win on the third playoff hole.

In outlasting short-game wizard Patrick Reed and hard-luck loser Sean O’Hair in the three-way playoff for the trophy, the new world No. 6 served notice on No. 1 that he may want to wait a few weeks before getting measured for his first green jacket.

"This is huge momentum for me," Spieth said after the wild ride that was Sunday’s overtime in Tampa. "It will jump me closer in the world ranking, which is obviously the number one goal long term. Most of all, it’s big momentum, positive momentum for us going into the major championships."

In fact, that first-ever Masters W may be going home to Dallas with the 21-year-old Texan who bloodlessly drained a 30-footer he called a fluke.

His winning putt "was just luck," said Spieth, who started the day one shot off the lead and shot a final-round 2-under 69. "If that doesn’t hit the hole I’ve got a four-foot slider, but I guess it was my day."

It has been Spieth’s "day" a lot lately. Since capturing the Australian Open title in November, the fourth-year pro has won Tiger Woods’ unofficial Hero World Challenge in December and chalked up four top-20 finishes on the PGA Tour, including three top-7s.

In that same timeframe, the odds-on favorite to win at Augusta in April and complete his career grand slam won the European Tour’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February, missed the cut at the Honda Classic, and finished T9 at Doral. McIlroy also has two wins in the last two majors to Spieth’s T36 (British Open) and MC (PGA Championship), so pretty much game on, fellas.

McIlroy will take his skills to Bay Hill starting Thursday in what will likely be his final tuneup ahead of the Masters. At the same time, Spieth -- who joined Woods, Sergio Garcia, and Robert Gamez as the four players to win two tour events before the age of 22 -- will play a home game next week at the Valero Texas Open.

"It's really cool to have my name, go along side those," said Spieth, who shared first place with Reed and O'Hair at 10-under. "But right now currently and what I'm really focused on is Rory McIlroy is No. 1 in the world. That's who everyone is trying to chase.

"That's our ultimate goal is to eventually be the best in the world and this is a great, great stepping stone," he said. "Going into the four majors of the year to have closed one out in this kind of fashion is going to give me a lot of confidence."