Spieth’s impressive 21 birdies at Masters not enough to win


AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) – Jordan Spieth made 21 birdies at this year’s Masters, including nine on Sunday while trying to keep pace with partner Phil Mickelson.

And it still wasn’t enough to win – or even best the 52-year-old Mickelson.

Spieth finished the Masters tied for fourth place at 7 under, five shots behind winner Jon Rahm.

But Mickelson also tallied 21 birdies, making eight in the final round, including five in the last seven holes to finish at 8 under and surge past Spieth.

“I was trying to honestly just match Phil shot for shot coming in,” Spieth said of the final round at Augusta National.

The 29-year-old Spieth said he made too many mental mistakes all week, saying “mental fatigue” led to 10 bogeys and two double bogeys.

“I played way too much golf coming into this,” Spieth said. “I mean, this is eight out of ten weeks (playing golf). So I need to change my schedule up going forward to be a little sharper during (Masters) week.”

The 2015 Masters champion said he got “lazy” picking targets on some holes.

“I probably only had a target 50% of the shots this week, and I like to have them 100% of the time,” Spieth said. “I kind of was trying to remind myself, but there was a few swings Thursday and Friday where I could have really left a few out there.”

SCHEFFLER’S COLD PUTTER

Scottie Scheffler’s bid for a repeat at the Masters never materialized thanks in large part to his struggles on the green.

After entering the week as the No. 1 player in the world and the odds-on favorite to win, Scheffler could never get any momentum going with this putter and was mostly a non-factor. He finished tied for 10th.

Scheffler had 128 putts for the tournament, which was 18 more than when he won the tournament last year by three strokes over Rory McIlroy. He was tied for the most putts of anyone in the field through the first three rounds.

“The first two days, I putted just awful,” Scheffler said. “It was one of those weird situations where my good ones weren’t going in and then my bad ones definitely weren’t going in.”

Scheffler grinned when he finally rolled in a 40-footer on No. 11 on Sunday to briefly pull within four shots the lead, but couldn’t seize on that momentum.

THEEGALA THRIVES

Sahith Theegala is known to many golf fans for his appearance on the Netflix documentary “Full Swing.”

He proved this week he has a good golf game, too.

The 25-year-old Masters rookie shot a final-round 67 to finish at 5 under for the championship. That put him within the top 12 and ties and ensured that Theegala would be invited back to Augusta National next year.

“I just wanted to put my best foot forward because I’ve been playing so well,” said Theegala, who has yet to win on the PGA Tour. “I just really wanted to make sure I felt like I got the most out of it. And I really did. I played really well.”

The highlight of Theegala’s final round came at the par-3 16th, where he overshot the green. That gave him a similar pitch to the one Tiger Woods made en route to winning the green jacket in 2005 and, naturally, Theegala knocked it in.

“You should have seen how many people said, ‘Do it for Tiger! Tiger chip-in! And all this stuff,'” Theegala said. “I can’t wait to watch the replay because I don’t know what I did. I don’t even know the angle the ball took. I was just blacked out when I hit the chip because I was just so happy to get it on the green.”

LIV’S IMPACT

There were plenty of questions over how LIV golfers would fare at the Masters, but the members of the Saudi-backed tour did quite well. Brooks Koepka led for three rounds before collapsing and finishing tied for second with Mickelson, and Patrick Reed tied for fourth place.

“The competitiveness, guys coming over and competing, and it’s the first time really seeing the PGA Tour guys they were all great,” Reed said. “They all acted the exact same way, whether I was part of LIV or whether I was a part of the PGA tour.”

Reed said for the most part the fans didn’t treat him any differently on the course.

“I heard a lot of “go for aces” out there, had some cheers and the usual once in a while little kind of murmurs here and there,” Reed said.

BENNETT LOW AMATEUR

After opening the tournament with a pair of 68s, amateur Sam Bennett from Texas A&M went 76-74 over the weekend to finish tied for 16th place, which means he won’t get an automatic exemption.

Still, he finished as low amateur and walked away with some great memories.

“I didn’t play how I wanted to this weekend, but this experience playing the weekend at Augusta is definitely going to help me be the golfer I want to be,” Bennett said.

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AP Sports Writer David Skretta contributed to this report.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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