How Jordan Spieth nearly pulled off the greatest comeback in Masters history

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Spieth knows he 'almost pulled off the impossible' (0:40)

Jordan Spieth says he didn't look at the leaderboard until after the 18th hole and came into the day with the goal of just having fun. (0:40)

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The conversation was never about Jordan Spieth. Go ahead, ask around. Did you hear anybody mention his name on the eve of the final round of the Masters?

No, this Masters was going to come down to Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy. If somebody was going to make a move, surely it would be Rickie Fowler or Jon Rahm, both just close enough to make it seem possible. Henrik Stenson, who started the day seven shots behind ... sure, he could make a run. After all, he put together one of the greatest final rounds ever, shooting an 8-under 63 to outduel Phil Mickelson in an instant classic in the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon.

But not once was Spieth's name uttered. He was, after all, nine shots behind the leaders. No one had ever made up that kind of ground over 18 holes on a Sunday at Augusta National. The greatest comeback came 62 springs ago, when Jackie Burke Jr. charged from eight down to win the green jacket.

Here, though, was Spieth, on a gloriously clear Sunday at the 2018 Masters Tournament, bringing the roars with birdie after birdie after birdie.

He didn't pull of the greatest comeback in history, but he sure tried.

"To be able to have a chance to win this tournament five years in a row is really, really cool. That's how I am going to take today," he said.

It was, from beginning to end, never boring. Here's how it all unfolded:

No. 1, par-4, 445 yards

Spieth handled one of the most difficult opening holes in major championship golf with a birdie. Over four days of this Masters, there were only 18 birdies.
Score: 1 under

No. 2, par-5, 575 yards

While No. 1 doesn't often lend birdies, No. 2 gives them up pretty easily. Spieth makes one of the 86 there this week.
Score: 2 under

No. 3, par-4, 350 yards

With the pin at No. 3 in a tough spot to get an approach close, Spieth walked away with par.
Score: 2 under

No. 4, par-3, 240 yards

The 240-yard par-3 is not a hole to be messed with, and Spieth did not mess with it. He walked away with the score most everyone in the field would happily take -- par.
Score: 2 under

No. 5, par-4, 455 yards

After a safe tee shot, he lands a long second shot into the green. But with 207 left, Spieth stuffed his approach, leaving it 3 feet from the hole. He tapped in a birdie.
Score: 3 under

No. 6, par-3, 180 yards

The 180-yard par-3 had perhaps the most difficult pin position of all on Sunday. On the top-right shelf, Spieth left his approach in the valley below the hole. He two-putted from 49 for par.
Score: 3 under

No. 7, par-4, 450 yards

The competition committee at Augusta National did the players a favor at No. 7, putting the pin in the right-hand corner, allowing shots to funnel toward the hole. Speith, who knows his way around the place, played it perfectly, knocking his approach to 5 feet. But his putter failed him, as he missed the putt and settled for par.
Score: 3 under

No. 8, par-5, 570 yards

Spieth kept his tee shot out of the right-hand bunker, the key to attacking the uphill par-5. He got his approach within 30 yards of the green. From that spot, he went up and down for birdie.
Score: 4 under

No. 9, par-4, 460 yards

A perfect tee shot was followed by a perfect second shot. Speith, facing a slipper left-to-right 12-footer, rolled in the putt. He was 5-under 31 on the first nine and headed to 10 tee. The fireworks were far from over.
Score: 5 under

No. 10, par-4, 495 yards

Using the runway down the left side of the fairway, he launched a 307-yard drive to leave a perfect angle for his approach. From 185 yards, Spieth left his second shot short. He two-putted for par.
Score: 5 under

No. 11, par-4, 505 yards

One of the more intimidating tee shots at Augusta National, Spieth found the fairway. Still, he had 216 yards left. He played it safe and hit his approach to the middle of the green. He left his 25-foot birdie putt 4 feet short but rolled that one in to save par. Still no bogeys on the card.
Score: 5 under

No. 12, par-3, 155 yards

This hole had been Spieth's personal house of horrors. In 2016, he plunked two balls into Rae's Creek, a mind-boggling stretch that cost him the green jacket. A year ago, he dropped another tee-ball into the water in the final round. This year, he found the back fringe. Dry and relieved, he raised his hands in mock celebration. He was not just happy with par, though. He rolled in the 30-footer from the back fringe for birdie.
Score: 6 under

No. 13, par-5, 510 yards

The drive is the key part of the dogleg left par-5. Find it and it's a green light to go for it in two and set up a chance at eagle. Spieth's drive ran through the fairway and settled in the pine needles up the right side. When he arrived at his ball, he first pulled out an iron but changed his mind and reached for a hybrid. Good choice. From 234 yards, he blistered the hybrid over the tributary of Rae's Creek and had a 12-footer for eagle. Is there such a thing as a disappointing birdie? Well, this was it. Spieth couldn't convert the eagle but did make birdie.
Score: 7 under

No. 14, par-4, 440 yards

Finally, the run was halted. Another pinpoint drive left Spieth 161 yards to the hole. His approach landed in the middle of the green. He two-putted for par. A par? Boring.
Score: 7 under

No. 15, par-5, 530 yards

Another par-5, another opportunity. And at this point in the round, would you expect anything besides another red number? But would it be birdie or eagle? Spieth got to the par-5 in two, playing his second shot safely to the back-right portion of the green, almost 60 feet away. He left his eagle lag 6 feet short but rolled in the birdie.
Score: 8 under

No. 16, par-3, 170 yards

The Masters always puts the pin on the 16th green in the same spot. The back-left location allows for drama. Hit it just right and the ball will funnel down next to the hole. Spieth didn't hit his tee shot far enough far enough to catch the slope, leaving himself a 33-footer for birdie. Want to guess how this ended? He rolled in the putt, looked at caddie Michael Greller and shouted, "Are you kidding me?" No, we're not. Another birdie.
Score: 9 under

No. 17, par-4, 440 yards

Spieth found the fairway off the tee, leaving himself 165 yards for his second shot. His approach settled 18 feet from the hole, and Spieth walked up and made another easy two-putt.
Score: 9 under

No. 18, par-4, 465 yards

A par and Spieth ties the course record. A birdie and he shoots 62, a course record at the Masters and just the second time in major championship history a player would post a 62. In a day that had been improbable, Spieth did the improbable. And for the first time all day, it wasn't the good improbable. The tee shot hit a tree lining the left side of the fairway. The shot traveled only 177 yards, leaving him 267 yards to the hole. He couldn't reach the green, so Spieth got as close as he could. With 88 yards left for his third shot, Spieth spun a wedge to 8 feet, leaving himself an uphill par to tie the course record of 63. He missed it low and left. His first bogey of the day, and it couldn't have come at a worse time.
Score: 8 under
Total: 64