AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Jordan Spieth, bidding for a second consecutive wire-to-wire win at the Masters, suffered a stunning meltdown after the turn as he tumbled out of a commanding lead to drop three shots behind Englishman Danny Willett in Sunday’s final round.
Having covered the front nine in four-under 32 to storm five strokes clear with a third major title in his sights, Spieth bogeyed the 10th and 11th before running up a nightmare quadruple-bogey at the par-three 12th.
After hitting successive shots into the waters of Rae’s Creek in front of the 12th green, Spieth found a back bunker with his fifth en route to a mind-boggling seven, falling back into a tie for fourth at one under.
That left Willett, a four-times winner on the European Tour whose wife gave birth to a boy last week, out in front at four under after he had recording four birdies in the first 15 holes.
Fellow Englishman Lee Westwood, boosted by an eagle at the par-five 15th, was alone in second with long-hitting American Dustin Johnson a further stroke back at two under, after 14.
Spieth, aiming to become only the fourth player to claim back-to-back Green Jackets, was at one under, level with Englishman Paul Casey, who closed with a 67, American J.B. Holmes (68) and Brandt Snedeker, after 16 holes.
After three rounds of strong gusting winds, the players were greeted by the coldest temperatures of the week but the calmest conditions as the final round got under way with an abundance of compelling possible storylines in the melting pot.
For the first nine holes, Spieth was his usual unflappable self as he mixed five birdies with a lone bogey and several clutch putts to reach the turn at seven under, seemingly in total command of the year’s opening major.
However, the 22-year-old Texan bogeyed the 10th, after bunkering his approach, and also the 11th, after his tee shot sailed right into the trees, before the tricky 12th took an even more severe toll.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Frank Pingue