2022 RBC Heritage leaderboard: Jordan Spieth edges Patrick Cantlay in playoff for another Easter Sunday win

One week after missing the cut at the Masters for the first time in his career, Jordan Spieth revived his game and won for the second consecutive Easter Sunday. Last year, he took the Texas Open the week before the Masters. Just over 12 months later, he took the RBC Heritage in a sudden death playoff over Patrick Cantlay the week after teeing it up at Augusta National.

Spieth’s win Sunday was unconventional in many ways. He putted it terribly throughout the week, highlighted by a missed 18-inch putt on the final hole Saturday that seemed destined to bite him entering Round 4. However, after making two eagles on the front side of the course, he drained a lengthy birdie at the last to enter the clubhouse at 13 under with several players still on the course.

That was the second unconventional part of his win. Rarely do we see a player post as early as he did Sunday and go on to win. When he stood on the 18th tee box at 12 under before making birdie at the final hole of the tournament, Data Golf tabbed him with a 0.8% chance to claim the trophy. But as Harold Varner III, Shane Lowry, Sepp Straka and others fell apart behind him, his odds of victory started to rise.

In the end, only Cantlay was able to match Spieth at 13 under after Cantlay dripped home a birdie on the 17th hole and took his Ryder Cup teammate to extra holes. Spieth’s putt on No. 18 from Saturday again flashed through the minds of everyone watching. That single stroke would have won him the tournament outright, and the golf gods seemed ready to kick a tournament Cantlay’s direction.

However, this is the highest wire act in all of sports we’re talking about, and Spieth nearly holed his bunker shot for birdie on the first hole of the playoff while Cantlay’s plugged about 15 feet away in the same trap. He couldn’t get it anywhere close to the hole, and Spieth stole a tournament he perhaps shouldn’t have won.

“I won this golf tournament without a putter. This is one of the worst tournaments I’ve putted that I’ve been in contention in,” Spieth told CBS after the round. “I just tried to stay gritty with it, be really positive on the back nine today. After a couple missed shortish puts, I made one on 13, and that really settled me back down and just gave me the chance on 18. I ‘ m most proud of the way – I’m pretty negative after missing a tap-in here, getting lazy yesterday – I’m glad it didn’t affect it [today]. ”

Spieth finished nearly last in the field in strokes gained putting, which is atypical of a tournament champion. He lost 2.5 strokes to the field with his flat stick alone (more than three of those over the last three rounds) and didn’t make a single putt longer than 4 feet on Saturday. That’s astonishing, and it speaks both to how well he’s hitting it and how much he has to improve with some massive events on deck, including the PGA Championship next month where he’ll be vying for the career grand slam.

It had been over a year since Spieth last won on the PGA Tour as he took the Texas Open last Easter Sunday. The RBC Heritage marked his second win by him since the 2017 Open Championship but the 13th overall in his career. Prior to his three-year drought, Spieth went on an absolute tear from 2015-17, winning three majors (2015 Masters, 2015 US Open, 2017 Open) along with the 2015 Tour Championship and six other events in that span.

Spieth entered RBC Heritage coming off that missed cut at Augusta National this year, a performance that clearly irritated him and likely energized him to bounce back one week later at a tournament in the RBC Heritage where he’s had a nice history.

“Last week was really a killer for me: my favorite tournament in the world, not getting to play the weekend. So, I came in and worked extra hard here. … Felt really good to make a putt that mattered on 18 in regulation there, “Spieth said. “… It feels amazing.”

The upshot here for Spieth is multifaceted. There’s so much at stake with the season just half over and his tee-to-green game di lui (where he was tops in the field in two of the last three events) seemingly sorted out. He still has three major championships on deck, including that high-stakes PGA as well as the Old Course at St. Andrews where he finished a stroke out of a playoff back in 2015. When you throw in the major after that one, there’s even more intrigue. After two straight wins on Easter, next year’s holiday falls on a weekend that might interest the three-time major champion: Masters Sunday.

“That’s good vibes,” said the 2015 green jacket winner, who has four other top-three finishes at Augusta National. “I guess I didn’t really put two and two together there. That’s great. What an amazing day.” Grade: A +

Here are the rest of our grades for the 2022 RBC Heritage.

Patrick Cantlay (2nd): Last week at the Masters, winner Scottie Scheffler talked a lot about how his goal is to simply put himself in contention because it’s so much easier winning from a spot of contention than trying to make a run from outside of it. Cantlay has embodied that this year even if he has yet to notch a victory. He’s fallen off over the last month, but Cantlay opened 2022 with four straight top 10s, and this is his second playoff loss of the year. That might look like failure, but winning on the PGA Tour is a war of percentages, and if you put yourself in the mix enough times over the course of a few years, you’ll pick up a handful of trophies. Cantlay experienced the other side of this last year when he won a few events he perhaps shouldn’t have, such as the Memorial Tournament when third-round leader Jon Rahm had to withdraw with a positive COVID-19 test. I’d love to see Cantlay, who has struggled a bit at the majors, really click for the next three. Grade: A

Shane Lowry (T3): Sunday was such a tough outcome for the Irishman, who came in playing such terrific golf. After saving several pars coming home, he made a terrible double bogey on the par-3 14th when he chipped into the water from a waste area up near the green. This is his fifth consecutive top 15 finish on the PGA Tour, and like Cantlay, if he keeps knocking on the door at events like this one, it’s eventually going to open for him. Grade: A

Dylan Frittelli (T66): Frittelli shot 5 over Sunday and was nowhere near the top of the leaderboard, but I wanted to include him because I wanted to include this hilarious shot he hit out of a tree, which he was subsequently penalized two strokes for hitting because of a wild rule that states that he was standing in the line of his ball (which was suspended in midair!). The most normal sport! Grade: A + on the shot, D for the event

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