Jordan Spieth was proud of the way he finished The 149th Open Championship and, despite coming up just short, paid credit to Champion Golfer of the Year Collin Morikawa.
Playing in the penultimate group at Royal St George’s, Spieth slipped back to -7, four strokes off the lead, when he bogeyed the 4th and 6th holes, but he came roaring back.
An eagle at the par-3 7th kickstarted his round before birdies at 9, 10, 13 and 14 moved him within a shot but he could not find any more strokes in the final holes as Morikawa ultimately won by two, leaving Spieth as runner-up after a Sunday 66.
Yet the 2017 Champion Golfer took the positives from his never-say-die attitude, even if there were some regrets over bogeys on the 17th and 18th on Saturday evening – the latter from a few feet – that ultimately proved costly.
“It's hard to be upset when I was a couple over through six,” explained Spieth. “I couldn't have really done much more after that point.
“But the finish yesterday, was about as upset as I've taken a finish of a round to the house. I walked in and I said ‘is there something that I can break?’ I knew that was so important because I would have been in the final group.
“I had to regroup 18 hours later and I'm proud of going six under in the last 12 in this golf tournament and putting some pressure on Collin.
“From what I've heard, he made a big par save on 10, made a putt up the ridge on 14 and a par save on 15.
“I needed a break, and I didn't get it from him. I did all I could. So I'm upset because I really felt like I played well enough to win and made a couple of really dumb mistakes like just stepping in and missing a couple-footer on 18 yesterday, not really thinking about it.
“But at the same time, I did everything I could in the past few hours to win this Championship."
RESPECT FOR MORIKAWA
Despite his own disappointment at not winning a second Claret Jug, Spieth was quick to pay credit to Morikawa for winning a second major at the age of just 24, on his Open debut.
The young American held his nerve throughout Championship Sunday, with four birdies and not a single bogey culminating in a round of 66 and a Royal St George’s four-round scoring record of 265 strokes.
“He swings the club beautifully, gets it in positions that make it very, very difficult to not start the ball on line, so therefore, he's going to be very consistent tee to green,” said Spieth of the Champion Golfer.
“Clearly, with the shots he's hit and the putts he's holed, he's not afraid of high-pressure situations and winning a major championship.
“At 24, obviously there's a bright future ahead. That's pretty special. I think winning one can happen to a lot of people playing really good golf in one week and I think winning two, three or more, he's obviously proven that this stage is where he wants to be.
“I think it is really impressive considering that it’s not only his first Open Championship but given the timing of when he's been out here.
“He spent a year, year and a half of that in essentially a crowdless environment and it's harder with big crowds. You feel it more, you know where you are and it's a bigger stage. I think that's impressive.”