Tasked with chasing down Kevin Na at Colonial, Jordan Spieth missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the opening hole Sunday by an inch. It proved to be a microcosm of his final round at the Charles Schwab Challenge, where a red-hot putter finally cooled off as Spieth faded from contention.
Three years after a memorable win in Fort Worth, Spieth had already set a personal best for made putts in a tournament through only three rounds. It helped him compensate for some shoddy ball-striking as he entered the final round in a tie for second, two shots behind Na. But a stirring comeback wasn't to be, as Spieth was derailed by a pair of early bogeys and never bounced back.
When he rolled in a 15-footer on No. 18, it was his only made putt over eight feet - and his only birdie of the day.
"The hole just started to look a little smaller today. That can happen on random days," Spieth told reporters. "I just misread a number of putts today just by half a cup. You just get days like that sometimes."
It added up to a 2-over 72 for Spieth and dropped him into a tie for eighth at 5 under. While he estimated prior to the round that a 66 would be enough to get him into a playoff, that total still would have left him two shots adrift of Na, who closed with a 66 of his own to cap a four-shot win.
But Spieth still has some extra momentum to carry with him to the Memorial, having cracked the top 10 in consecutive weeks for the first time since last April.
"My goal today wasn't to come out and win or go home. I knew if I did what my game plan was that I would have a chance to win on the last few holes. That's all I was trying to do," Spieth said. "I could have done more the first few days to make it easier on me. All in all, I'm pleased with the week as a whole. A little disappointed today."