AUGUSTA, US: Masters leader Jordan Spieth admitted he had mixed feelings after Saturday’s (Sunday in Manila) third round, which saw him maintain his lead over the field despite dropping three shots in the last two holes.
It had been, he said, a fine round of golf, but had been spoiled to some extent by his closing hole, which saw him mis-hit his drive, misjudge his approach shot and then three-putt for a double-bogey six.
Having also bogeyed the 17th after another errant drive, suddenly, what had been looking like a comfortable four-shot advantage for the 22-year-old defending champion going into Sunday’s final round, had turned into a knife-edge one-shot margin.
Spieth ended the day on 3-under 213, one shot clear of American debutante Smylie Kaufman, with Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and German veteran Bernhard Langer a shot further back.
Asked how he would be able to put behind him the poor finish to the round, he replied: “I think it will be tough personally.
“I mean honestly, I think it will be tough to put it behind. I think I will, but that wasn’t a fun last couple holes to play from the position I was in.
“I’m not going to dodge the question by any means. It’s not going to be fun tonight for a little while, and hopefully I just sleep it off and it’s fine tomorrow. I imagine that will be the case.”
It was all in sharp contrast to last year, when Spieth produced a fine finish at 18 on the Saturday to open up a four-stroke advantage over the field.
The following day, he came back to win his first major with a record-matching 18-under par total before going on to win the US Open two months later.
The day had been billed as a shootout between Spieth and fellow top young gun Rory McIlroy as they went out together in the final pairing.
But the Northern Irishman had an off-day that saw his hopes of completing the Grand Slam of all four major titles badly dented.