When Jordan Spieth nailed an incredible birdie on 16 to grab a share of the lead at the Open Championships, history seemed inevitable.
He’s proven time and again he can finish out tournaments strong, that he can perform under the mounting pressure — but, there were still two holes left.
Just as quickly as he entered, his chances at a calendar Grand Slam and an Open Championship win at a windy St. Andrews were blown away.
He bogeyed the 17th hole, and his chances at history were down to one hole — one last chance at golf immortality.
An eagle on 18th was victory, a birdie would force a playoff, anything less meant defeat.
He stood on the green on 18, trying for a birdie, but he missed.
"It stings a little bit, but ultimately I thought we gave it a really good run,” Spieth said.
The final day on the Old Course was a rollercoaster for the 21-year-old. After a four-putt double bogey on the eighth hole, his dream of completing the third leg seemed to vanish.
“If you make bogey, you’re still in it,” Spieth said. “If you make double bogey, it’s a very difficult climb.”
But two back-to-back birdies and a birdie on the 16th were just the things he needed to make the climb back to the top. An excited Spieth even raised his fist in the air after he landed the birdie off of a long putt, which tied him for the lead spot alongside Zack Johnson and Marc Leishman at 15 under.
On the 17th hole, it all came crashing down again though. A bogey took him back to 14 under and all it was all left to one final hole to secure a playoff. But the humble Texan couldn’t push it in for a birdie.
“I believe we played eight and seventeen as hard as anybody as hard as any group today. Seventeen was brutally challenging,” Spieth said. “It was the hardest rain and the hardest wind at the same time of the day. When you look up from the ball and you’re getting pelted in the face, it’s a hard shot.”
After the tournament, Spieth said his speed control over the ball is what cost him this week.
“I can leave it eight feet short and have a dead straight 8-footer up the hill, where I’ll make that a majority of the time,” Spieth said. “Instead of being patient and accepting eight feet from 40 yards like I do on a 40 yard wedge shot, I, instead, was a little too aggressive with it when it was unnecessary.”
Despite the disappointment, Spieth said the loss won’t hurt too bad considering he didn’t lose the tournament on the last hole.
“I made a lot of the right decisions down the stretch on certainly closed plenty of tournaments out, and this just wasn’t one of those,” Spieth said. “It’s hard to do that every single time so I won’t beat myself up too bad because I understand that.”
The former Longhorn golf star has had an incredible year with two major championships under his belt.
And even with the loss, Spieth is still in good company. His experience today mirrored a similar scene from 1960, when Arnold Palmer went to St. Andrews with a chance at completing the third leg of the Slam, but finished just one shot shy of the lead also.
But from here, Spieth has the next two weeks off to rest and then his efforts will be focused on the final major championship of the year — the PGA Championship.