Jordan Spieth, Mr. Augusta National, has an impressive track record at the Masters. In his four starts he’s finished tied second, first, tied second and tied 11th.
And every year he’s entered he’s come in on the back of an outing at the Houston Open the week prior. Take a 2014 anomaly out of the equation – where he finished tied second at Augusta after a missed cut in Houston – and Spieth’s Masters return correlates heavily with his Houston finish.Embed from Getty Images
In 2015, he lost a three-way play-off at the Houston Open to finish tied second and went on to win his maiden major title at Augusta; in 2016 he was not quite as good in Houston, finishing tied 13th, and not quite as good in Georgia, finishing tied second; and last year he missed the Houston Open cut and faltered to the worst Masters finish of his career: tied 11th.
Coincidence? We think not.
So the 24-year-old will take great confidence in his tied third finish at the Houston Open this week, if past years are anything to go by.
He was four shots and 12 places off the top at the start of Sunday’s final-round but made an early charge with a birdie-eagle duo on holes three and four. He added another birdie on the eighth to go out in 32.
The back-nine began with a stuttering bogey on the 10th after a duff approach, but Spieth came home with three more birdies on the 12th, 13th and 16th. Even when a poor tee-shot, approach and chip on the 18th threatened to derail his final-round, Spieth recovered to salvage par with a 29-foot putt.
That closed out a final-round 66 and his week at 16-under-par, as Spieth left the Golf Club of Houston in just the prosperous form he would liked to. In the end he was three shots shy of Ian Poulter and Beau Hossler’s leading total and sitting in tied third.
But Spieth loves Augusta, and it seems Augusta loves him. So anything that gives Spieth any kind of advantage around that track is worth its weight in gold.