Jordan Spieth’s putter betrays him as Matt Fitzpatrick wins RBC Heritage in playoff
Jordan Spieth hit his putter twice during a playoff with Matt Fitzpatrick at the RBC Heritage at Harbor Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, SC on Sunday.
He couldn’t send the ball home on either birdie attempt, and Fitzpatrick made him pay.
Fitzpatrick won the tournament on a tap-in birdie after a clutch approach shot with his 9-iron on the 18th hole — the second time in the playoff he’s come back on the par-4 final hole. Spieth had a long birdie putt that he surely let go, knowing Fitzpatrick had the upper hand after his shot came within inches of the hole.
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But Spieth wasn’t able to hit that one home either, and he could only watch as Fitzpatrick celebrated the victory that could have been his if the two putts had gone millimeters the other way.
On the first playoff hole, Spieth found himself in the lead after Fitzpatrick hit his birdie attempt across the hole. Spieth read the line and appeared confident as he moved towards the ball.
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He gave it a little tap, using the green downhill to do most of the work as the ball traveled toward Spieth’s intended destination. But instead of falling into the cup for his 13th PGA Tour victory, the ball bounced off the right fringe and came to a dead stop near the hole.
Spieth couldn’t believe it as his initial club lift in celebration turned into a hat throw in disbelief. He would tap it in for par and saw Fitzpatrick hit a short putt to send the playoff to the 17th hole.
The par-3 17th saw both Fitzpatrick and Spieth hit beautiful tee shots right on the pin, giving themselves plenty of chances to finish it off. Fitzpatrick went to the green first, hitting his ball a little downhill toward the cup. But just as he did in regulation, Fitzpatrick misread the 17th green and found the ball stayed true to its line and never cut back to the hole.
So, again, Spieth was in the driver’s seat as he approached his putt. And once again, the line looked perfect for Spieth, but he needed an ounce more power as the ball rolled away from the hole before it reached it.
Spieth’s smile was genuine surprise as he couldn’t believe it had happened again.
The two golfers, now on their third playoff hole, returned to the 18th tee box where they hit solid shots to set up again for their approach shots. Fitzpatrick, however, wasted no time with his 9-iron, hitting it clean and watching as it hit the front of the green and left the hole. It looked like it was going to go in but stopped just short.
Spieth knew what he had to do at that point, use a pitching wedge to try to make it close. Instead, the ball went higher than he would have liked, and it dropped to the back of the green.
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In the end, Fitzpatrick earned his second PGA Tour victory, his first since winning the US Open at Brookline in Massachusetts last year.
It also meant a lot to Fitzpatrick that his parents, who used to drive him to Harbor Town where he played with his dad, were there to see him battle Spieth for the win.
It was also the perfect time for Fitzpatrick to pick up a second Tour win as the RBC Heritage was one of eight designated events that feature an elevated purse in 2022. So, with the purse moving from $8 million to $20 million this year, Fitzpatrick won $3.6 million after winning the playoffs.
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Spieth still got a solid salary of $2.180 million, but being inches away from nearly $1.5 million more? That’s a tough way to end the weekend.