University Place caddie Michael Greller keeps 21-year-old in a positive mood while posting the wire-to-wire victory at Augusta

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AUGUSTA, Ga. — Jordan Spieth had pocket aces.

That is what his caddie, Michael Greller from University Place, told Spieth on Sunday when he got frustrated a couple of times in the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.

“I was pinched by Michael and he said, ‘All right, we still got this thing,’ ” Spieth said. “He likes to say we have pocket aces, we are already ahead, we just have to play it out the way we know how to play it out. Michael beats me a lot at poker, by the way, so I just trust him.”

Lowest 72-hole scores in Masters history

270

Jordan Spieth, 2015

Tiger Woods, 1997

271

Jack Nicklaus, 1965

Raymond Floyd, 1976

272

Tiger Woods, 2001

Phil Mickelson, 2010

274

Ben Hogan, 1953

Ben Crenshaw, 1995

David Duval, 2001

Charl Schwartzel, 2011

It certainly was a winning hand Sunday.

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After staking himself to a four-shot lead through three rounds, the 21-year-old Spieth birdied two of his first three holes Sunday and never led by less than three strokes while rolling to a four-shot victory over Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson. In doing so, Spieth became the second-youngest champion (Tiger Woods was about five months younger when he won in 1997) and the first wire-to-wire winner since Raymond Floyd in 1976.

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And despite a bogey on the final hole, Spieth still tied Woods for the lowest score in tournament history at 18-under 270.

 

“This is arguably the greatest day of my life,” Spieth said while wearing the green jacket that came with the victory. “To join the club that is the green jackets and to join Masters history and put my name on that trophy and to have this jacket forever, it’s something that I can’t fathom right now.”

For the past 12 months, Spieth has been motivated by what happened last year in his first appearance at the Masters. He shared the lead entering the final round with Bubba Watson and led by two shots with seven holes to go before Watson rallied to beat him by three shots.

“I was hungry from last year, having already had an opportunity and watched it slip away and watched Bubba win and everything that came with Bubba being a Masters champion,” said Spieth, out of Dallas, who has two victories and two seconds in his past four tournaments.

It ate at Spieth every time he heard a show or an announcer talking about Watson’s victory last year.

“You get reminded of it all the time,” Spieth said. “And so that definitely left me hungry.”

Unlike last year, this time he didn’t give anyone much of a chance. He birdied two of his first three holes, and with Greller lending positive support, Spieth did not let any of his four bogeys get him off track.

“The whole day was just lots of positive reinforcement,” said Greller, a former caddie at Chambers Bay in University Place, site of the U.S. Open in June.

There was only one really nervous moment for Spieth and that came on the par-3 16th hole when he was up by four shots. Rose had an uphill 15-foot putt for birdie and Spieth had a tricky downhill 8-foot putt for par after overshooting the green. A two-shot swing in Rose’s favor was very possible.

“That’s when I really felt like it could get out of my hands if I’m not careful,” Spieth said.

Rose’s putt slid just by the hole. Spieth then coaxed his putt down the hill and read the break perfectly, dropping it in to maintain his four-shot lead. The rest was just a formality.

“I would call that the biggest putt I have hit in my life,” Spieth said.

Mickelson played what he called a solid round, scoring a 69, but he never got closer than four shots.

“I’ve played really well to shoot 14 under and I just simply got outplayed by a young player who just played some incredible golf,” he said.

Spieth, who entered the tournament ranked No. 4 in the world and is now at No. 2, has something else he wants to accomplish.

“The ultimate goal … is to become the No. 1 player in the world,” he said. “I’m still chasing that goal. It’s going to be difficult, but to be a large step closer is huge.”

Wire-to-wire champs
Jordan Spieth is the first wire-to-wire winner at the Masters since 1976 and just the fifth overall.
Player Year Score
Jordan Spieth 2015 -18
Raymond Floyd 1976 -8
Jack Nicklaus 1972 -3
Arnold Palmer 1960 -1
Craig Wood 1941 -3