The Masters: Starring Jordan Spieth
With 20 out of the last 24 winners having come from the final pairing, all eyes were on Jordan Spieth (US) and Justin Rose (Eng) in the battle for the green jacket. With speculation as to whether Spieth could hold on after learning the hard way last year, with a 4-shot lead heading into the final round, it was his to lose – but surely not for a second year running?
Trailing by 4, Justin Rose got off to the perfect start, with back-to-back birdies to see the deficit reduce to 3 shots. A birdie on the 3rd for Spieth increased his lead back to 4 shots and moved his tournament total up to 18-under – matching Tiger Woods’ 72-hole record at the 1997 Masters, and with 15 holes still to play. With Spieth’s lead fluctuating between 3 and 4 shots, a fantastic par on the 7th for Justin Rose saw him bridge the gap once again to trail by 3.
Mind the gap.
A birdie on the 10th for Spieth got him back to 18-under for the tournament and extended his lead over Rose to 6 shots. Just as Rose looked to be wilting, three consecutive birdies on 13, 14, and 15 helped towards his tournament total, but not towards his quest for victory as Spieth also birdied the 13th and 15th to stay 5 shots ahead. Now 19-under for the tournament, and with the Masters record to par all to himself, Spieth needed just one more birdie to make Major championship history with the best score under par – currently held by Tiger Woods having shot 19-under in the Open Championship at St Andrews (2000).
What about the chasers?
- Phil Mickelson and Charley Hoffman
A 3-under par 69 for Phil Mickelson (US) moved him up into 3rd position with an amazing eagle out of the bunker on 15 helping to launch his tournament total to 14-under. A disappointing 2-over par round for Charley Hoffman (US) saw him finish with his worst score of the week and slip down the field.
- Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods
For World Number One Rory McIlroy (NR) it was a case of too little too late in the pursuit of the career grand slam. The Northern Irishman ended on a high by shooting a 6-under par 66, and at 11-under for the weekend, McIlroy’s rounds of 67 and 66 see him finish with the lowest weekend total and at 12-under for the tournament. Tiger Woods (US) didn’t get off to the best of starts having failed to hit a single fairway off the tee on the front 9. Hitting his approach shot on 9, Woods struck a tree root hidden beneath the pine straw which looked to hurt his wrist. Able to save par, Woods went on to bogey the next but returned to form with an eagle on 13 to get him back to level par for the day. Two bogies and a birdie coming in, including a disappointing one on the last would see Tiger 1-over for the day and 5-under for the tournament.
Back to the final group…
The par 3 16th posed a fantastic opportunity for Rose to get one, or even two shots back with Spieth through the back of the green and Rose 12-feet away. With Spieth’s chip coming up short, he left himself with a 10-foot putt for par whilst Rose had a 12-foot putt for birdie. With time running out for Rose, if ever there was a crucial putt to make, this was the one, but he missed, Spieth held, and the pair walked off with pars.
One to go…
Onto the last, and with 4 shots still the deficit, Rose needed a miracle. With both approach shots coming up short on the last, failure for Rose to get up and down would see him finish 2-under par for the day and move from solitary second, into a tie for second with Phil Mickelson. All eyes onto Spieth, and with just a 4-foot putt left for the win, it wasn’t a question of whether he would win the Masters, but a question of whether he would have the nerve to hole the putt and clinch the 72-hole record off Tiger Woods. No doubt with his heart racing, and the realisation dawning that he was about to win the Masters, Spieth made an uncharacteristic miss to join Rose finishing with a bogey.
Completing the top 10…
The mover of the day to finish inside the top 10 was Hunter Mahan (US) who moved up 9 positions to finish in a tie for 9th. England’s Ian Poulter and Paul Casey also did well, moving up 6 and 4 places respectively to see them tie with Dustin Johnson (US) in 6th position. Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama broke 70 for the first time this week to seem him finish in 5th position with a 6-under par 66 to see him in a tie for the lowest round of the day with Rory McIlroy (Eng).
A week to remember…
Jordan Spieth had incredible form coming into the Masters but few predicted the impact he would have at Augusta National.
- Lowest 36-hole total at the Masters
- Lowest 54-hole total at the Masters
- Record number of birdies at the Masters – 28
- 1st player in history to reach 19-under in the Masters
- Equalled lowest 72-hole total – 201
- 5th man to lead wire-to-wire (from start to finish)
- 2nd youngest winner at 21
After leading from start to finish, there’s no denying he was a deserving winner.