Jordan Spieth called it his “best swing of the week.”
The same swing ended up costing him the golf tournament.
Leading the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am by a shot over Tom Hoge late on Sunday afternoon, Jordan Spieth stood on the tee box at Pebble’s par-3 17th hole and sized up the shot: 185 yards to the flag, 175 to cover the front bunker. A day earlier, his 9-iron carried nearly 170 yards on the hole. So, he clubbed up only one.
“It was really tricky because the wind kept going almost back to northeast, and then it would go to northwest, and with a cold wind here that makes such a massive difference, more than it does anywhere else that we play, I think,” Spieth said. “And I just was worried if I held it up against that breeze that it may not carry, but we were pretty confident in it, and when I struck it, I thought it was all over it. I hit the dead center of the face, high, kind-of-hold straight ball; the wind just took it a little. …
“In the air I was thinking this might lip out, and it hits the [bunker] lip and goes in the bunker.”
Full-field scores from AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Spieth failed to get up and down, his first bogey since the third hole, and dropped back to 17 under. Meanwhile, Hoge came within inches of holing out on the par-4 16th – the same hole where Spieth hooped an eagle during last year’s third round – and followed the tap-in birdie with a 22-foot birdie make at No. 17 for a three-shot swing and two-shot lead over Spieth.
Once Spieth one-handed his final drive at the par-5 18th, hit his next shot into the long bunker that abuts the sea wall and then miss-hit his 90-yard wedge shot by leaving it short of the green, his chances of winning were all but over. He ended up solo second, two behind Hoge, who laid up twice en route to a stress-free, closing par.
“The second half of yesterday and all of today’s round, I had some nerves; I guess adrenaline is a better way to put it,” Spieth said. “I stayed positive. … I liked the way I struck the ball this week and felt like I was putting it better each day. So, I was eyeing today as a low one and it very well could have been.”
Spieth shot 63-69 on the weekend at Pebble while leading the field in strokes-gained: tee-to-green (ShotLink was not available for rounds at Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula Country Club). But he gained almost five fewer shots approaching the greens on Sunday than he did the prior round.
He missed six greens in the final round, too, though Spieth, who once led by two after back-to-back birdies at Nos. 11 and 12, mostly lamented one loose tee ball at the par-4 15th hole.
“I probably should have hit iron off of 15, and I hit driver, and that took away one of my birdie chances,” said Spieth, who had to slice his approach around a tree and came up just short of the putting surface. “Other than that, I hit every shot really where I wanted to hit ’em, and typically that works out really well for me, it just didn’t quite today.”
Spieth, who missed the cut last week at the Farmers following an early-week hospitalization due to a bacterial stomach infection, now has six top-10 finishes in 10 Pro-Am appearances – and two straight top-3s after winning his lone title here in 2017. He said he was feeling “almost 100%” as he preps for next week’s Phoenix Open and the following week’s Genesis Open, but he is still down some weight as he continues to struggle to keep food settled.
Not that he was making excuses.
“I didn’t feel it affected any performance whatsoever,” Spieth said, before adding, “I mean, I’ll look back and kick myself for not winning this tournament.”