Jordan Spieth shoots 74 to finish Byron Nelson tied for 18th

IRVING, Texas -- There are two ways to interpret Jordan Spieth's performance at this week's AT&T Byron Nelson, where he parlayed a 2-stroke deficit entering Sunday into a share of 18th place after a final-round 4-over 74.

Either he persevered, as he contended for the title without his best stuff, or he once again faltered, as he failed to stay near the top of the leaderboard when the pressure was greatest.

Perhaps, it was a little of both.

Asked after the round whether his takeaway from the week was more optimism or frustration, Spieth answered with the latter.

"Frustration, yeah," he said. "To go from the final group in second place alone and finish in 18th, there's not many positives you'll be able to take out of that, other than the last hole I played, I made birdie. That's nice.

"I hit really solid swings. I was aggressive through the ball today. I wasn't hesitant at the ball, which is what I was the last couple of days, trying to guide shots. I put nice, fluid, solid swings on the golf ball. I don't know exactly what happened, whether a break here, break there, gust of wind here or there that just let it push the balls to roll into tough locations, but I felt like I deserved a better score today than I did yesterday. That's just how golf is sometimes."

Spieth's final-round 74 followed scores of 64, 65 and 67, on which he insisted that his swing never felt comfortable.

In just his second start since he lost the Masters last month, Spieth brushed off last week's missed cut at The Players Championship to at least contend in his hometown event for the first time since he was 16 years old.

"I almost matched my best finish in six starts here," he offered with a smile. "I can look at that positively."

On Sunday, Spieth's round started poorly and never got on the right track. He bogeyed two of his first five holes, then after making birdie on the par-5 seventh hole -- a hole that yielded more birdies than pars -- he followed with yet another bogey.

His back-nine featured a similar total of three bogeys with just a single birdie -- that short putt at the final hole his lone bright spot on the day.

If there's a positive to come out of this week for Spieth, it's that he won't have long to dwell on it. He'll head across town to play at this week's Dean & DeLuca Invitational at Colonial Country Club, a venue which might better suit his game.

"We're going to go to a golf course next week where I've had success," he said. "I felt like I found something today that I can fine-tune with my ball-striking, and my putting is there. I feel very confident about next week."