It didn’t look like the final round of the Masters would provide much drama as Jordan Spieth was looking to lead wire-to-wire and win his second-consecutive Masters. He built a five-shot lead heading into the back nine after four straight birdies to end the front nine. Unfortunately for Spieth, things took a massive turn for the worse at Amen Corner.
They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Well that seems to be the best analogy when describing what went down at the Masters over the course of the final nine holes.
Danny Willett, a 28-year old from Rotherham, England, who has been a pro since 2008, won his first Major Championship. If you haven’t heard much about him, it’s due to the fact that he plays on the European Tour, where he has two victories. This marks his fifth-career pro win. He made his fourth appearance in a PGA Tour Major with his best finish coming last year when he finished tied for sixth at The Open Championship.
Let’s throw another wrinkle into this story, shall we? Willett was unsure if he would even be able to play in this year’s Masters due to his wife due anytime with their first child. Well she gave birth on March 30, allowing him to see the birth of his first child and then going on to win the Masters. Can a guy have a much better than that? It’s certainly hard to top. Oh, one last thing, his wife, Nicole will celebrate her 28th birthday on Monday and it was late Monday morning when Willett won. Happy Birthday to her.
When Spieth walked to the back nine to tee off on number 10, nobody could have possibly predicted what would occur over the next three holes. Spieth would bogey both 10 and 11 before disaster struck in the biggest way possible. On the par-three number 12. Spieth hit not one, but two shots into Rae’s Creek and ended up with a quadruple bogey.
So let’s add that all up. Spieth went from leading by five shots heading into the final nine to being down by three shots. He dropped six shots in three holes. He did give himself a shot to win, trailing by two shots with two hole left. He would need to birdie both holes to tie Willett. He ended up with a bogey and par.
This is where Willett took advantage. He would go on to birdie three of his final six holes after being down 5 shots with those six holes remaining. He finished the round firing a five-under 67, giving him a five-under 283 for the tournament, the highest winning score at the Masters in the last nine years. He also became the first Englishman to win the Masters since Nick Faldo last won in 1996.
Speaking of that fateful day in 1996, it ties in heavily with the outcome of what went down in the final round on Sunday. Greg Norman was cruising to a Masters victory, up six shots before he also found the water on 12. Faldo would shoot a bogey-free round 67, much like Willet did on Sunday, to take advantage and the Green Jacket.
To pile onto what was already a nightmarish finish for Spieth, he had to go to Butler Cabin and to the 18th green ceremony and place the Green Jacket on Willett.
So which is the main focus: Spieth’s collapse or Willett’s victory? You have to go with the guy who won the event, but it’s real hard to not think about Spieth’s collapse, especially how he finished the front nine with the four birdies. Willett was able to take full advantage and change his life forever.
One positive thing we can take from Spieth’s back-nine performance is his poise. For as mentally rattled as he was, he never fully lost composure and kept himself in contention. He was able to give himself a shot at tying Willett, being two back with two holes left. He needed to birdie both holes to tie Willett, but instead he ended up with a bogey on 17, which sealed the win for Willett and a par on the final hole. That’s an awful lot for a 22-year old.
Lee Westwood completed the day with a three-under 69, tying him with Spieth for second place. This was his 72nd Major and he has come away with zero victories.
Paul Casey (five-under 67, -1 overall), JB Holmes (four-under 68, -1 overall) and Dustin Johnson (one-under 71, -1 overall) all tied for fourth. Speaking of Holmes, he was involved in one of three hole-in-ones on the par-three 16, but not for his own shot. South African Louis Oosthuizen hit his tee shot and it bounced off Holmes’ ball and into the cup. The other two aces were at the hands of Shane Lowry and Davis Love III.
Rory McIlroy and the number one ranked golfer in the world, Jason Day, finished in a five-way tie 10th, finishing one-over for the tournament.
Congratulations to Danny Willett, on taking advantage of a golden opportunity and winning the Masters.