AUGUSTA, Georgia — For 12 rough months, Jordan Spieth’s supporters looked forward to seeing him put a water-drenched quadruple bogey behind him. So, there was cheering from his gallery when he safely put his ball on the green at the 12th hole at Augusta National on Thursday. He was saluted again after he completed a routine par.
Then three holes later, he made another water-drenched quadruple bogey.
His 9 on the par-5 15th hole put an unsettled air on his first competitive round in the Masters since his Sunday collapse last year. Regardless of the déjà vu potential, and despite the fact no one ever has won the Masters after having made a quadruple bogey at any time in the four rounds, he was not overwrought.
Of his 9 on the par 5, he alluded to the fact that everything was different at Augusta National on Thursday because of the hard, swirling wind. He said, “I was stuck in the 15-is-a-birdie-hole mentality, and it kind of bit me a little bit. I struck the shot well, I just hit the wrong club. I used a club that would spin instead of one that would maybe take the spin off.”
His third shot spun back into the water, he took a drop, hit the next one long and wound up with a mess. He did birdie the 13th and completed a strong up-and-down from behind the green for par at No. 18. But he finished with a 75, 3 over par, which was 10 shots behind leader Charley Hoffman.
“I’m going to probably need to play something under par tomorrow, which puts a little bit of added pressure. I feel like I need to snag something tomorrow,” he said.
Spieth, the 2015 champion here (having sped past Hoffman, his playing partner, in the third round), insisted he felt no pressure in his return to the 12th on Thursday. At least no more than he normally feels while hitting to the creek-guarded green. “I was a bit surprised at how loud the cheer was when my ball landed about 35 feet away from the hole,” he said. “But I was relieved to see it down and on the green. And I guess everybody else felt maybe more than I did.”