By Ann Liguori
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (CBSNewYork) -- The game can make a champion and also break a champion's heart.
This time, it broke Jordan Spieth's heart as his epic meltdown on "Amen Corner" during the final round of The Masters transformed his five-shot lead through nine to a three-shot deficit three holes later.
It was an epic collapse for sure, but I believe he'll learn from this experience and come back an even better player.
Spieth shows how resilient he is on the course, often making birdies after bogies. He did that several times over the weekend.
Following his three-hole disaster, Spieth could have continued into a downward spiral. Instead, he birdied the 13th and the 15th and just missed a birdie on the 16th. The 22-year-old Texan finished tied for second place with Lee Westwood, three shots behind the winner, Danny Willett. But after such a disastrous turn of events, a less mentally tough player could have continued to fall.
After the round, Spieth spoke to reporters near the clubhouse, not in the interview room. When asked what happened, he said, "I went bogey, bogey, quad. I went 5, 5, 7. It was a dream come true front nine. And I knew par was good enough and maybe that was what hurt me, just wasn't quite aggressive at the ball with my 3-wood, 6-iron on 10. And then the drive on 11. Just a lapse of concentration on 12 and it cost me."
When asked how disappointed he was, he replied, "It's a tough one ... my lead was five with nine holes to play. I knew that those two bogies weren't going to hurt me. I didn't take that extra deep breath and really focus on my line on 12. Instead I went up and I just put a quick swing on it."
Spieth got a lot of support from the galleries, which helped him in his effort to rally.
"It was very, very cool what the patrons here did for me," Spieth said. "And they almost brought me back into it. I played 13, made birdie. Bad drive on 14, made up for it. Birdied 15 and all of a sudden they believed I could do it and it helped me believe I could do it."
Spieth had a birdie opportunity on the 16th, which had he made it would have moved him within two shots of the lead with three holes to play.
"And I just ... the putt I ... I made a putt last year on 16. I missed one this year. Who knows what happens at the end?" he said. "But, yeah, it was ... of course we're going to fight back, you know? There's no give-up in us. We tried, but it just was one bad swing."
The bottom line is, Spieth came into this Masters with less than his A-game. He knew it. He tried to overcome it and was on top of the leaderboard for three and a half rounds, before the bottom fell out.
Playing in just his second Masters, Englishman Willett birdied three of his last six holes to shoot a bogey-free, 5-under 67 for his first major championship. Willett also became the first European to win at Augusta since 1999.
Spieth tried to put on a smile when he put the Green Jacket on Willet, but he did a bad job faking it. He looked angry at himself. But expect him to put it all in perspective, appreciate the year he had in 2015 even more, and get back to work.
"Big picture, this one will hurt," Spieth said. "It will take a while."
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