PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Jordan Spieth gave a series of fist pumps after his 8-foot birdie putt on No. 18 on Sunday, almost as though he'd just won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
The 20-year-old phenom did wind up finishing tied for fourth, quite a rebound after a third-round 78. But Spieth was a happy man for a different reason than his top-five finish. He was determined to conquer Pebble Beach Golf Links after it fairly well brutalized him during Saturday's weather-challenging round and effectively knocked him out of a chance at victory.
Spieth, the co-leader with eventual winner Jimmy Walker at the midway point, was a bit unlucky drawing Pebble Beach in the third round, when the weather was at its fiercest. After being 9 under par at the halfway point, he made four bogeys and a double bogey in his first 15 holes, then had to play the final three holes early Sunday morning before officially teeing it up for the final round.
Spieth shot a 5-under 67 in a closing round that didn't have a single bogey. He had an eagle at the par-5 second hole and three birdies.
He refused to blame the conditions at Pebble Beach on Saturday for his downfall, even though the course's average score was 3-over 75, two strokes higher than either Spyglass Hill or Monterey Peninsula Country Club. And Spieth may have caught the weather at its absolute worst.
"You want to play Pebble Beach in that weather once in your life," Spieth said. "You just don't want it to be Saturday when you're in the lead. I tried to force it too much. I was trying to shoot under par when you really needed to play it safe, hit the ball to the fat part of the greens, and I didn't want to do that.
"I'm definitely not blaming the fact that we were on this course. I just didn't play smart enough."
Spieth said he was determined to try and get back all the shots he lost Saturday and get back to 9 under at the finish. He fell a stroke short but was still quite satisfied after finishing at 8-under 279. He admitted he probably got a bit carried away with his fist pumps, which were more exuberant than those of Walker's a few hours later.
"Looking back, I probably wouldn't want to do that because it's not like I won the tournament," he said. "I was just really, really happy with the way I struck the putt. It was a big putt for my confidence to drop one on 18 when I needed it, under pressure."
-- Graeme McDowell, who won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2010, couldn't repeat his effort in the AT&T in his first trip back to the Monterey Peninsula. But after nearly missing the cut Saturday, he shot a final-round 67 to finish in a tie for seventh with Pat Perez and Tim Wilkinson.
"I played pretty well on Thursday, Friday and Saturday but just really made nothing on the greens," McDowell said. "And today the putter got hot. So, really pleasing. Some good stuff, a dream week having the chance to play with my dad."
-- Jim Renner's late surge to finish second -- he shot 5-under 31 on the back nine -- didn't get him the pro title but it did help his amateur partner, Texas restaurateur John Harkey Jr., snatch away the pro-am title from pro Rory Sabbatini and author, shoe entrepreneur and reality show participant Blake Mycoskie.
The Renner/Harkey team finished at 31-under 256, a shot ahead of Sabbatini and Mycoskie.
Giants pitcher Matt Cain and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning appeared as though they'd make the pro-am cut, but when their incomplete third rounds were held over to early Sunday morning, both wound up losing in playoffs.
Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob, who also had to finish his third round in the early hours, did make the cut and finished tied for 14th with pro Chesson Hadley at 21 under.
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