For nearly four full days, it looked like Jordan Spieth was going to claim a second straight Masters green jacket with another wire-to-wire victory. Then in the span of just three holes, the entire landscape of the tournament flipped. Spieth went from commanding lead at 7-under, five strokes clear of the field, to trailing by three shots.
It was a shocking turn of events. Spieth, the No. 2 player in the world, is among the steadiest in the sport. While others seem to collapse in the biggest moments, Spieth had always risen up; until he reached Amen Corner on Sunday. Riding a streak of four straight birdies, Spieth was playing his best golf of the tournament. A bogey on No. 10 was shrugged off. He was still fine after another bogey on No. 11.
Then came No. 12.
The most famous par-3 in golf is now a hole Spieth will never forget. The hole arguably cost Spieth the green jacket in 2014 when his approach found the water. That fate was repeated on Sunday when he shanked his tee shot way right and into Rae's Creek. Unfortunately that was only the start of the issues. Spieth took a drop. At that point he could still recover and limit the damage. Stiff an approach shot, make a putt and get out with a bogey. It could have been fine. Instead, it was this.
At the biggest moment in the biggest tournament in the world, Spieth chunked a fairly simple approach shot. It was one of the most shocking shots in golf. It's rare enough to see a pro chunk a shot like that. Watching a player typically as steady and as good as Spieth chunk that shot doesn't seem fathomable.
Spieth recovered as well as he could. But there is only so much you can do after a debacle of that magnitude. The damage was done, the green jacket was gone and suddenly Spieth went from the most steadfast players in golf, to having his name entrenched on the list of biggest collapses in major championship history.
Spieth's issues unlocked the door for Danny Willett and he proceeded to kick it down. As Spieth was making bogeys, Willett was making birdies. He made three birdies in his final six holes to leapfrog Spieth and post 5-under. While Spieth made a final late run, it wasn't enough to overtake Willett who claimed the first major championship of his career and his first victory in the United States.
Lee Westwood and Paul Casey were among the other players who made admirable runs up the leaderboard only to come up just short. Here is a complete look at the final scoreboard.
|Place||Player||Score||1st Round||2nd Round||3rd Round||4th Round||Total|
|T17||Rafael Cabrera Bello||4||74||73||75||70||292|
|T42||Davis Love III||11||73||73||76||77||299|
Watch Ernie Els' putting disaster from six feet out
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