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Reed claims green jacket glory at Augusta
Patrick Reed is the 2018 Masters champion after holding off Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth.
What happened on the final day of The Masters?
Patrick Reed has never been viewed as being in the same sort of category as the likes of Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy. On Sunday at Augusta National, Reed put in the sort of performance that any one of those players would have been delighted with.
Passing through Amen Corner, Reed looked up to the leaderboard to see a resurgent Jordan Spieth charging, throwing birdie after birdie, making putt after putt. Spieth was a man on a mission, a man that was hell-bent on revenge after throwing away the Green Jacket only two years ago.
Many would have folded under the pressure, especially those in search of their first major championship, and more significantly, a Green Jacket.
But Reed didn’t blink. Make no mistake, this was an absolute master class in front-running.
The American, who certainly splits opinion, relied on his putter all day, rolling in huge putts on 12 and 14, as well as making gritty par saves throughout the day.
Of course, he’ll remember the two chunks of luck he had along the way. Firstly, after going for the green in two on 13, his ball came up slightly short, and rather than trickle down into Rae’s Creek, his ball somehow stayed on the bank.
And then on 17, after he pulled his approach short left, his lengthy putt was heading off the green only for the hole to get in the way. A short putt on 18 was left for the win, and just like the rest of the day, he held his nerve to knock it into the centre and claim his first major title.
The story heading into the day was Reed vs. Rory, a rematch of their sensational clash at the Ryder Cup in 2016. To put it bluntly, McIlroy was poor and looked iffy from the very first tee. His drive flailed right and was lucky to stay in bounds. He managed to save par, but after he missed a short putt for eagle on the 2nd, his race was, in hindsight, ultimately run.
No golf course in the world dishes out disappointment quite like Augusta National, and McIlroy was again on the receiving end of it. McIlroy went on to finish tied for 5th, but there were big moves made elsewhere. Justin Rose played solidly on his way to a 12th place finish, but Paul Casey, who made the cut on the number on Friday, surged through the field after shooting a 65. He played Amen Corner in an incredible four-under.
Tommy Fleetwood was next best at 17th, while Matt Fitzpatrick, Ian Poulter and Tyrrell Hatton all finished outside of the top-30.
The talking points
Only the 18th hole got in the way of Jordan Spieth and the course record. Spieth’s putting troubles of late have been well-documented, but the normally reliable flat-stick heated up to unimaginable levels as the 24-year-old made seemingly everything. His drive on the 18th clipped a tree, with his ball not even reaching the fairway – and that was his race run.
Rickie Fowler was Reed’s closest rival. The popular American looked to have taken himself out of the running with a nondescript front-nine, but he made four birdies coming in, including the 18th to make Reed’s final putt a knee-knocker.