By Frank Pingue
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Jordan Spieth was cruising along on his revenge tour of Augusta National when a late quadruple-bogey undid what had otherwise been a steady start to the U.S. Masters on Thursday for the former champion.
Shortly after safely navigating the par-three 12th -- site of the infamous collapse that cost Spieth the tournament last year -- the American world number six suddenly blew up at the par-five-15th after a poor club selection.
Spieth found water with his third shot, and then sailed his next one over the green before chipping on and three-putting for a nine after going birdie-bogey over his previous two holes.
"I didn't take my medicine and hit it with a club that takes the spin off," Spieth told reporters about his shot that landed on the green before sucking back down a slope and into the water.
"Instead, I was stuck in the '15's a birdie hole' mentality and it kind of bit me a little bit."
Spieth birdied the next hole en route to a three-over-par 75, six shots back of clubhouse leader William McGirt in the opening round of the year's first major.
Earlier, a locked-in Spieth stared down the fateful 12th hole amid swirling wind and sent his tee shot to the upper right edge of the green before turning to his caddie Michael Greller and letting out a large exhale.
The 23-year-old Texan, who last year hit successive shots into the waters of Rae's Creek in front of the 12th green, went on to make his seventh consecutive par.
"I was a bit surprised at how loud the cheer was when my ball ended about 35 feet away from the hole but I was relieved to see it down on the green," said Spieth.
"It was nice to make a three there and capture a four at the next and I really thought we had it going there and then just made a club choice mistake. But we’re still in the tournament."
At the 18th hole, Spieth's approach landed in the lap of a woman sitting a few rows behind the green. After some laughter, the woman handed Spieth his ball and he got up-and-down for par.
"Played the last three holes well. Certainly tough conditions and I didn't drive the ball particularly well so I was playing from some difficult locations today," said Spieth. "Fortunately we're still in it."
(Editing by Andrew Both)