Willett wins Masters when Spieth falters

After Jordan Spieth gave away the Masters to Danny Willett, he was there in Butler Cabin to give the Englishman his Green Jacket.

Not that Willett didn’t do his part to earn his first major title.

As defending champion Spieth blew a five-stroke lead early on the back nine at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday, Willett was finishing off a bogey-free 5-under-par 67 to win the 80th Masters by three strokes in Augusta, Ga.

Willett finished with a 72-hole total of 5-under 283 and became the first Englishman to win the Masters since Nick Faldo claimed his third title in the first major of the year in 1996.

“It’s crazy and I can’t describe the feeling,” said Willett, who won four times on the European Tour and started the week at No. 12 in the World Golf Rankings. “At the end of the day, someone has to win the golf tournament and fortunately today it was me. It’s just a surreal feeling.

“I played great golf today and it’s been a fantastic week. I wanted to go out and shoot a good score to put some pressure on (Spieth). I had a number in my mind, it was 6-under, but it turned out to be 5.”

Willett wasn’t even sure he was going to play in his second Masters until last week, when his wife, Nicole, gave birth to their first child, Zachariah James.

Had his son not come early, Willett was going to stay home in Sheffield, England.

Spieth, who led after the previous seven rounds of the Masters, birdied the last four holes of the front nine to take a five-stroke lead, but gave two back with bogeys on the first two holes of the back.

Then it unraveled all at once in the heart of Amen Corner, when he hit two shots into the water and a third into the sand en route to a quadruple bogey-7 on the 12th hole.

“That swing flight has come up for me on the par-3s this week,” Spieth said of his tee shot at No. 12. “I should have gone to the drop zone for my next shot where we knew the yardage. It just compounded the mistake. If I just made bogey, I still would have been two shots ahead.

“It’s tough. … It was a tough 30 minutes that hopefully I never have to go through again. I just made bad swings on three holes in a row.”

Spieth, No. 3 in the world, tried to rally with birdies on the 13th and 15th holes, but carded a 73 and finished in a tie for second with Lee Westwood of England.

Westwood, still one of the best players without a major title, closed with a 69 to finish three shots back in solo third, while Dustin Johnson also remained part of that club by shooting 71 and was another stroke back in a tie for fourth with Paul Casey of England, who had a 67, and J.B. Holmes, who totaled 68.

“The wind was down today so you could be more aggressive, but still it was tricky,” said Westwood, who posted his 18th top-10 finish in the majors. “At 15 I looked up and suddenly I was 3-under and one back of the lead.

“You know anything can happen around Amen Corner and it happened to Jordan. There’s always a fine line between success and disaster there.”

Matthew Fitzpatrick, 21, another rising Englishman, birdied four of the last five holes for a 67 and wound up five shots behind in a tie for seventh with Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark, who closed with a 71, and Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who came in at 73.

Third-ranked Rory McIlroy, making his second attempt to complete the Career Grand Slam with a victory in the Masters, closed with a 71 and wound up six back in a tie for 10th with top-ranked Jason Day (73) of Australia, Justin Rose (70) of England, Brandt Snedeker (72) and Daniel Berger (71).

Bryson DeChambeau, who will turn pro Thursday at the RBC Heritage and was in the hunt for two rounds, shot a third 72 and tied for 21st to finish as low amateur.

Two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer of Germany, 58, who amazed by finishing round three only two shots behind Spieth, struggled to a 79 and tied for 24th.

Davis Love III, Shane Lowry of Ireland and Louis Oosthuizen all made holes in one on the 16th hole.

–Story courtesy of The Sports Xchange, TSX Golf Editor Tom LaMarre

Related Articles

Stay Connected


Latest Articles