Jordan Spieth came agonizingly close to winning his third major of the season on Monday, finishing Monday's round of the 2015 British Open with a three-under 69 for a total score of minus-14, one shot behind the trio of Marc Leishman, Louis Oosthuizen and Zach Johnson. Here's a look at the leaderboard:
The U.S. Open and Masters winner double-bogeyed the eighth hole, and while he showed plenty of fight during his comeback—including a masterful putt for birdie at the 16th—he fell just short of his ultimate goal.
The 21-year-old has enjoyed a season for the ages and entered the final round just one shot off the lead after an excellent performance on Sunday. Spieth shot a six-under 66, showing remarkable improvements in his short game after struggling earlier in the tournament.
As shared by ESPN's Jason Sobel, he had a shot at making history on Monday:
Jason Sobel @JasonSobelESPN
Jordan Spieth is now on the course. Could be the first footsteps toward history today.2015-7-20 13:23:10
Jason Sobel @JasonSobelESPN
Jordan Spieth would be second to win Masters, U.S. Open and The Open in same year, but first to win first three. PGA was before Open in '53.2015-7-20 13:25:50
The youngster started things off with a birdie before making par on three consecutive holes. He looked solid off the tee, an area where several other contenders seemed to struggle, and he didn't miss a single green in regulation through the front nine.
Back-to-back birdies on Nos. 5 and 6 put him within a single stroke of leader Leishman, via the PGA Tour's official Twitter account:
PGA TOUR @PGATOUR
Birdies at 5 and 6. Jordan Spieth is thissssss close to the lead. #TheOpen http://t.co/rxZXLBwIla2015-7-20 14:54:06
Yahoo's Jason McIntyre found himself rooting for the young gun:
Jason McIntyre @jasonrmcintyre
<----- Unabashedly rooting for Jordan Spieth. Have rooted more for Spieth this year than I have Tiger in his entire career. Not sure why2015-7-20 14:52:07
Things went wrong on the eighth hole, however. Spieth found the green on the par-three but missed his first putt badly, and a momentary lapse of concentration saw him miss the second putt in even worse fashion. He needed four tries in total to sink the ball, shaking ESPN's Dan Graziano's belief in the worst way:
Dan Graziano @DanGrazianoESPN
Spieth just four-putted on 8 for double bogey. What's left to believe in?2015-7-20 15:21:26
But the mark of a true champion is how he bounces back from setbacks, and Spieth has already shown in the past he has a short memory on the golf course. Back-to-back birdies on Nos. 9 and 10 once again put him within striking distance of the leaders, drawing the admiration of the BBC's Ben Smith:
Ben Smith @BSmith
Jordan Spieth incredible strength of mind. 4 (four) putts 8. Throws ball away in disgust. Then goes birdie, birdie. Wow2015-7-20 15:49:21
With the wind picking up during the afternoon, play became more difficult with every passing minute. Spieth did well to make par on the next two holes, before he was cruelly robbed on the 13th.
Chipping for birdie, he made a fantastic shot that bounced off the pin, and the ball's momentum carried it over the hole instead of dropping in. The Open's Twitter account shared the shot:
The Open @TheOpen
So close! Spieth nearly chips in for birdie on 13. http://t.co/GXoKkgS0bL #TheOpen https://t.co/R49KxhEKxV2015-7-20 16:28:42
Golf Australia couldn't believe it:
Golf Australia @GolfAust
WOW!!! Spieth's little birdie pitch hits pin and somehow stays out on 13th! How did that stay above ground? #TheOpen2015-7-20 16:21:04
Spieth didn't let the unfortunate miss get to him, making par on the next two holes before striking on the 16th. If there were any doubts his short game had recovered after some struggles during the first two rounds, he silenced all skeptics with this spectacular putt:
The Open @TheOpen
Final round. #TheOpen at St Andrews. Spieth ties for the lead with this putt on 16. https://t.co/sTpPo83TCl2015-7-20 17:18:09
FourFourTwo's Huw Davies said what just about everyone was thinking:
Huw Davies @thehuwdavies
Spieth's not human2015-7-20 17:10:00
Few doubted Spieth would repeat his heroics on 17, facing another tough putt for par, but this time, the young star came up just short. The bogey saw him drop back down to third place, one shot behind the duo of Johnson and Leishman, who had already entered the clubhouse. With a play-off on the line, Spieth needed a birdie to keep his shot at history alive.
CBS Sports' Kyle Porter wasn't betting against him:
Kyle Porter @KylePorterCBS
Knowing Spieth, he'll probably eagle 18 and engrave the Claret Jug himself.2015-7-20 17:28:49
Spieth birdied the 18th during the first two rounds before making par on Sunday, so the odds were in his favor. He pulled his drive well wide to the left, but still had a chance to get up and down. His approach spun off the front of the green, however, all but ending his chances of winning the Open.
Spieth's putt to make birdie came up two inches short, as he had to settle for fourth place, one shot down to the leaders and tied with Jason Day, who was still on the course at the time.
ESPN's Darren Rovell couldn't help but think back on missed opportunities earlier this week, including his controversial three-putt in dreadful conditions:
Darren Rovell @darrenrovell
Remember: Spieth three-putted the Par 5 14th after the R&A restarted play in windy conditions on Saturday #Hindsight2015-7-20 17:44:47
WFAA's Mike Leslie noted he joined a pretty elite group with his performance on Monday:
Mike Leslie @MikeLeslieWFAA
The company Spieth is keeping is remarkable '60: Palmer W, W, 2nd '72: Nicklaus W, W, 2nd '15: Spieth W, W, T-4th All finished 1 shot back2015-7-20 17:55:08
As shared by SportsCenter, Spieth told reporters he thought he played a good round of golf, although he didn't plan on lying about how he felt about missing out on the play-off:
"It stings a little bit, but ultimately I thought we gave it a really good run." - Jordan Spieth, on missing playoff at The Open by 1 shot2015-7-20 18:08:05
While it's an unfortunate end to Spieth's Grand Slam bid, the 2015 British Open was yet another reminder of his incredible talent. The youngster has ice running through his veins, something he demonstrated yet again on Monday, and he can never be counted out.
We knew this before the start of the Open, but Spieth once again reminded everyone watching: This youngster has all the tools necessary to dominate the sport of golf for years. While Spieth may have missed on out a chance for a calendar Grand Slam, there's reason to believe he's the massive favourite for this year's PGA Championship.