Sunday's roundup: Spieth lassoes Colonial title
Fort Worth, Texas — Jordan Spieth found the perfect cure for his Masters misery.
With an impressive back nine at Colonial, Spieth won at home in Texas for the first time on the PGA Tour. He had three consecutive birdies after making the turn, and three more in a row to finish his 5-under 65 on Sunday, including a chip-in birdie from behind the 17th green after a fortunate bounce off a marshal.
“In our third tournament back, to come back and close this one out the way we did is really, really special,” Spieth said. “This day is a moment that’ll go down, no matter what happens in the next 30 years of my career, this will be one of the most important days that I’ve ever had.”
The second-ranked Spieth punctuated his eighth career victory with a 34-foot birdie putt when he needed only a bogey to win the Dean & Deluca Invitational.
At 17-under 263, Spieth finished three strokes ahead of Harris English (66). Colonial member Ryan Palmer and Webb Simpson tied for third at 13 under, both shooting 68 in the final group with Spieth.
Last month at Augusta, Spieth blew a five-stroke lead on the back nine when trying to win the Masters for the second year in a row. There was then an extended break before he missed the cut at The Players Championship and then finished tied for 18th a week ago at the Byron Nelson before finally winning in the Lone Star State after three runner-up finishes there, including Colonial last year.
“The significance of it happening now … because I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get over the hurdle of having to come in to every single interview room, having to listen to crowds only talk about what happened a month ago,” he said. “And it’s very difficult, and I’m 22. It’s not like I hadn’t won, and we’ve won two majors.”
He is the reigning U.S. Open champion, and will be trying to defend that title at Oakmont in three weeks.
Spieth started Sunday at Hogan’s Alley with nine consecutive pars, including a 32-footer at the par-3 eighth after hitting his first shot into heavy rough.
“The nerves hit me more than I think they should have or normally would just from the start of the round today, and that’s probably it,” he said, referring to Masters.
There was also the guy in the gallery at No. 10 that yelled out “Remember the Masters, Jordan” and other similar comments. While Spieth wasn’t sure if they were positive or negative reminders, they certainly provided some motivation.
Spieth made a curling 20-foot birdie at the 10th before a pair of short birdies, then hit a wayward tee shot at the 192-yard 13th, almost immediately pointing his 7-iron to the left and shouting “Fore!” He yanked his ball out of the bunker over the green before a chip to inside 3 feet for a bogey.
Then at 14, after hitting his drive into a fairway bunker and shouting after his approach short of the green, he saved par with a 14-footer that rolled just to the right edge before falling into the cup.
After a 20-foot birdie at the par-3 16th, Spieth hit a wayward tee shot at the 17th. The ball ricocheted off the lower leg of a marshal and avoided going into much heavier rough. Spieth signed a glove “Thanks” to the marshal, but his approach from 173 yards sailed over the green before he chipped in after relief because it landed against a temporary grandstand.
“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,” he said. “If I’m anyone playing against me, I’d be pretty upset at that.”
Nearly two months before his 23rd birthday, Spieth broke a tie with Tiger Woods for wins at age 22 or younger. The only player with more that young was Horton Smith with 14 from 1928-30.
With the first-prize check of $1.2 million, and a plaid jacket to go with the green one from the Masters, Spieth has earned more than $24 million on the PGA Tour.
When the final group was introduced before teeing off at No. 1, in the shadow of the Wall of Champions, the applause and cheers for Palmer were as loud as those for Spieth.
Palmer opened with consecutive birdies to go a stroke ahead of Spieth for the lead. He got to 14-under after a 12-foot birdie at No. 7, which he followed by reaching back for a hand slap with caddie James Edmondson, the four-time Colonial club champion. That was his last birdie until the 18th.
“The energy out there was spectacular,” said Palmer, who had his best finish in 13 starts at Colonial. “You couldn’t write a better script for sure. … Watching what Jordan did, it shows you why he’s where he’s at.”
Chris Wood won the BMW PGA Championship by one stroke for the biggest victory of his career, taking advantage of third-round leader Scott Hend’s collapse.
Wood had a front-nine 29 and held a four-stroke lead after a birdie at No. 11, but dropped shots on Nos. 14, 16 and 17 to trim his advantage to one. The Englishman played the par-5 18th safe to make par for a 3-under 69 and 9-under 279 overall, finishing a shot ahead of Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg (65).
Masters champion Danny Willett had a third at 7 under after a 71.
Oregon’s Aaron Wise shot a 6-under 64 on Sunday at Eugene Country Club to take the individual NCAA lead, while Vanderbilt remained atop the team standings.
Wise, a sophomore from Lake Elsinore, California, had four straight back-nine birdies to reach 6-under 204 with one round left. Vanderbilt’s Matthias Schwab was two strokes back after a 67.
Vanderbilt shot a 2-over 282 — with only the best four of the five players’ scores counting in the team total — to reach 5-over 845. Texas had a 277 — the best score of the day — to jump from fifth to second at 7 over. Defending champion LSU and Southern California were 10 over.
The field was cut to the top 15 teams after the round, with Louisville and Oklahoma edging TCU, Clemson and Georgia on tiebreakers for the final spots. On Monday, the individual champion will be crowned and the top eight teams will advance to match play.
Natalie Sheary completed a wire-to-wire victory in the W.B. Mason Championship for her first Symetra Tour title in 88 career starts.
The former Wake Forest player from West Hartford, Connecticut, closed with a 3-over 74 for a one-stroke victory over Marissa Steen. Sheary finished at 8-under 205 at Thorny Lea and earned $18,750 to jump from 34th to eighth on the money list with $28,325, with the final top 10 earning LPGA Tour cards.
Sheary broke the course record with a 62 on Friday and shoot a 69 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead into the final round.
Steen shot a 72.