Jordan Spieth has quashed the Mark Twain adage “reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” as it applies to his golf game with a stunning six birdies on the back nine on his way to 17-under and a three-shot victory at the Dean and Deluca Invitational in Fort Worth.
Colonial Country Club has the storied Wall of Champions next to the first tee and it holds names like Hogan, Snead, Palmer, Trevino, Crenshaw, Watson, and Mickelson. They can now proudly add to it their favorite son’s name as Jordan notched his first professional victory in his home state of Texas.
Ever since his epic collapse on the 12th at Augusta a month and a half ago there have been whispers everywhere that the young knight might never recover from such fall. After missing the cut at The Players people were scratching their heads and with a final round collapse of 74 at last week’s Byron Nelson the growing level of concern turned to full torrent.
But Jordan was determined to right the ship in front of the home town crowd. 67-66-65 was steady improvement and left him with the 54-hole lead coming into Sunday. His record with 54-hole leads is quite impressive for a 22-year old (he has won 4 out of 6 when he led after three round) but then there was that pesky little quad in Amen Corner.
Winning in his own backyard had special meaning to Spieth
Playing even par over the first nine holes Jordan seem to be ceding his chances to the field but as true champions do Jordan lit it up with three birdies to start the inward nine and sink his nails into the hem of the Red Tartan Blazer that goes to the winner. After a bogey on 13, a huge 14-foot par saving putt on 14 snuck in the corner of the cup to jab fate in the solar plexus. His ensuing par on 15 had him tied for the lead at 14-under with the man with two last names, Harris English.
Here is where championship lore begins once again, a totally improbable finish that will expunge a closet full of demons and put questions of his premature demise to rest. It begins on the Par 3 16th where Jordan hits it into the center of the green leaving a windy 20 footer which he buries for an unlikely birdie. Lead is now 1.
The first fist pump of the trilogy…making birdie on 16…Embed from Getty Images
On 17 he pulls his drive left seemingly headed for Sherwood Forest only to careen off the leg of a volunteer marshal that propels the ball to a clear line on the edge of the first cut of the rough. From 173 his flyer 9-iron has wings and air mails the green to lodge up against the grandstand. Granted a free drop which makes saving par a possibility Jordan one-ups the field by softly landing his short side pitch on the fringe and feeding it down the short slope into the cup for an earth shattering birdie. Lead is now 2.
Even Jordan was startled by the power of his magic wand on the 17thEmbed from Getty Images
So it only remained to hit it to center of the fairway, center of the green and have three putts to win. Not good enough for the demon dragon slayer, Jordan coolly rolls it in down the slippery slope for one more birdie. Wins by 3.
One last exclamation point….from 35 feet on the 18th
@hat we love about Jordan is his realism and humility. Admitting that luck has a lot to do with fate he said of the escapade on 17, “One of the luckiest holes I’ve ever had personally. I hit a guy on the side on the tee ball that goes into the first cut, and then I get that drop and then chip in….If I’m anyone playing against me, I’d be pretty upset at that.”
Anyway you cut it 67-66-65-65 says it all……the Gifted and Talented One Is Back!
A patriotic look….especially if you hail from the Lone Star State