(Reuters) – It was “goal accomplished” for an upbeat Jordan Spieth as he headed off to Augusta National after finishing in a share of third at the Houston Open on Sunday.
The final result was always going to matter less to Spieth than his form heading into the U.S. Masters, which starts on Thursday.
The 2015 Masters champion arrived in Houston looking to find his swing and putting stroke and, with the exception of a mundane third round, showed clear improvement as the week progressed.
He even flirted with contention on Sunday before carding six-under-par 66 to finish three strokes behind winner Ian Poulter, who beat Beau Hossler in a playoff.
“Starting four back on a very gettable golf course, you kind of need a really flawless round (to have a chance of winning),” Spieth told NBC after nailing a 30-foot par putt dead center at the final hole at Golf Club of Houston.
“I had an opportunity to shoot eight or nine under. I’m very pleased with my six-under,” said the three-times major winner. “Goal accomplished for the week.”
Most pleasing for Spieth on Sunday was his short putting, which has been a weak link in his game recently.
“On and around the greens I’ve been looking for what’s been off,” said the Texan.
“Today was able to have pressure-packed putts where I trusted what I have been working on from the beginning of the week and it still looked good to me and the ball started on line.
“That combination is how I get back to the putting I’m used to seeing. I’ll just try to nail it in the next few days.”
Spieth acknowledged he would probably would need further improvement to have a chance of a second green jacket, but was optimistic.
“I’ve made some big strides from my last couple of tournaments so I’m very excited for what next week holds,” he said.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Nick Mulvenney)