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Back-nine disaster for Spieth at Masters

© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP / by Jim SLATER | Jordan Spieth of the United States plays his second shot on the 18th hole during the first round of the 2017 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 6, 2017 in Augusta, Georgia

AUGUSTA (UNITED STATES) (AFP) - 

Jordan Spieth set aside bad memories from last year and parred Augusta National's tricky 12th hole Thursday at the Masters, only to suffer another quadruple-bogey disaster on the back nine.

The 23-year-old American, whose quadruple bogey on the par-3 12th on Sunday last year doomed his bid for back-to-back Masters victories, fired a three-over par 75 Thursday in his first competitive round at Augusta National since his epic meltdown.

Most of the damage came on the par-5 15th, where Spieth took a 9, finding water in front of the green and then going way beyond the green in the swirling winds that played havoc with most players in the opening round of the year's first major event.

Spieth admitted to suffering nerves prior to making par at 12, where he twice found Rae's Creek in last year's final round, saying "certainly I always have nerves walking to that tee."

But Spieth did sense that the crowd was with him, spectators reserving cheers more common at the first hole for Spieth landing his ball on the green on his first try without plunking one into a watery grave.

"I was a bit surprised at how loud the cheer was when my ball landed about 35 feet away from the hole, but I was relieved to see it down and on the green," Spieth said.

"And I guess everybody else felt maybe more than I did on it. But it was nice to make a 3 there."

- 'Wrong club'

But just three holes later, Spieth found another quadruple bogey. After laying up, he found water in front of the green, then soared well beyond the green, found his way back and three-putted to end the misery.

"Very difficult," Spieth said. "You think of it as a birdie hole, obviously being a par 5. And unfortunately I still thought of it as a birdie hole today and it really isn't, when you layup.

"So I didn't take my medicine and hit it about 15 feet right with a club that takes the spin off. Instead I was stuck in the '15 is a birdie hole mentality' and it kind of bit me a little bit. I struck the shot well, I just hit the wrong club."

A birdie at the par-3 16th helped ease the pain but Spieth knows he has added pressure on himself for a strong round Friday in more windy weather.

"I'm going to probably need to play something under par, which puts a little bit extra added pressure that I wouldn't have put on tomorrow," he said.

"I feel like I need to snag something tomorrow, but do it through patience and taking advantage of the par-5s.

"And the weekend looks like there's going to be no wind. It looks something like single digits might win this tournament. And I certainly can post single digit under par at this point."

by Jim SLATER

© 2017 AFP