Xander Schauffele was “coming in hot” with four straight birdies when a triple-bogey six at the 16th stopped his challenge of Hideki Matsuyama at the Masters stone cold.
Matsuyama, who would hang on for a one-shot win to become the first Japanese man to win a major golf championship, had just bogeyed the par-five 15th to see his lead dwindle to two strokes over playing partner Schauffele.
“I felt like he gave me a little bit of hope there,” Schauffele said.
Unfortunately, that led him to be “maybe a little hyper-aggressive there on 16,” where his 8-iron bounced into the water.
Schauffele would walk away with the first triple-bogey he had ever made in a major, but he said he wouldn’t lose sleep second-guessing his decision.
“I fought hard,” Schauffele said. “I felt like I made it exciting at the end, hit a really good shot on 16. I committed to it.
“I hit a perfect 8-iron,” he added. “It was 184 yards. I can hit my 8-iron 180 yards out here. I turned it right to left. The wind was into left to right. It got smoked and eaten up. You could kind of see it. The ball hovered there.
“I was in full chase mode, so I have no regrets from that aspect.”
Schauffele ended up tied for third with three-time major winner Jordan Spieth, two strokes behind American Will Zalatoris who grabbed solo second — one shot behind Matsuyama — with a closing 70.
Schauffele settled for an even par 72 in his latest near-miss.
The world number five American, a four-time winner on the US PGA Tour, finished tied for second at the 2019 Masters won by a resurgent Tiger Woods.
Schauffele also posted a runner-up finish at the 2018 Open Championship.
On Sunday he started the day four strokes behind Matsuyama and after a birdie at the second gave up four strokes in three holes with two bogeys and a double bogey at the fifth.
He trailed by as many as seven strokes before stringing together four straight birdies, the run capped by his birdie from a greenside bunker at 15.
What came after, Schauffele said, he’ll try to “put in the memory banks” where it will come in useful in the future..
“Hopefully, I keep coming back here for years to come, and the goal is to win one day,” he said.