Reed claims maiden Major title at Augusta
Augusta, Georgia, April 8: Patrick Reed claimed his maiden Major Championship title after holding off the charges of Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler to win the Masters Tournament, becoming the third consecutive European Tour Member to slip on the Green Jacket.
The final day was billed as a potential classic, especially as Reed teed off alongside Grand Slam-chasing Rory McIlroy in the final group. Although the Northern Irishman’s chances ended in disappointment, Augusta National still sprung up the usual drama associated with the first Major of the season.
“I knew it was going to be tough. Any time trying to close off a golf tournament is really hard, but to close off your first Major and to do it at a place that is so close to me,” said Reed.
“I knew that the lead was going to shrink at some times, I knew the lead could grow, it’s just the flows of golf. You just have to know how to handle it and the only way I felt like I could get that done was to make sure the putter was working.
“It was tough out there but to be able to make that putt on 14 and then to make the two-putt on 17, it just gave me that momentum going to 18 which in the past has given me so many issues.
“It’s almost impossible to put into words. Just to make the par on the last and watch the ball go in the hole and know that I’ve won my first Major. One of my huge goals this year was to not only contend in Majors but also get back in that winning circle. To do it in the first Major and finish off that drought, it just meant so much to me.”
The 27-year-old’s victory means that for the first time in Masters history, three successive winners of the event have been full members of the European Tour – following Sergio Garcia in 2017 and Danny Willett in 2016.
The 2015 Masters Champion Spieth was the first to test the nerve of the overnight leader Reed, threatening the course record with a remarkable streak of nine birdies in the opening 16 holes, including four in five from the 12th.
An unfortunate break on the final hole though, where his drive clipped the trees mid-air and dropped just short of 180 yards from the tee in the rough, spoiled his chances as a bogey five meant he had to settle for an eight-under 64 and a 13 under total.
“The first time I saw the leaderboard was after I tapped in on 18, honest to God. I didn’t look once today. That was my plan going in. I’m nine back, go out and just have fun, don’t worry about the golf tournament itself, worry about playing Augusta National. I heard roars. I knew somebody was playing well,” said Spieth.
“With eight people ahead of me starting the day, to get that much help and shoot a fantastic round was nearly impossible. But I almost pulled off the impossible. I had no idea. When I finished and I looked at the board I could have been in the lead by two and I could have been down four. And neither one would have surprised me.
“It was nice. I look back, and, man, I did everything right. The two days prior, too, and the lid was just on the hole. And then guys have chipped in for eagle, balls have stayed out of the water, there’s hit pins when they’re going off the green. When you win, you get these kind of breaks and it’s happened to me every single time I’ve won. And you get a break or two throughout the golf tournament that could be a game changer.”
Next up was another Texan, Fowler, who birdied the last to post a 14 under total after a five under 67, but Reed stayed resilient the whole way through and a two-putt par at the last for a one under 71 was enough to clinch a one-stroke triumph on 15 under par.
“It was a great week to get ourselves in the mix and to have a strong weekend, unlike last week. I feel like we got the boxes checked that we wanted to last week in Houston coming into here at Augusta, and I was ready to go win. Unfortunately I was one shot short, but we were able to keep P‑Reed honest out there, at least making him earn it,” said Fowler.
“I mean, solo second feels and sounds better than tied for second, so it was nice to edge out Jordan on the last.
“Obviously I’m happy for him. We’ve played a lot of junior golf together and we’ve been on some great teams together, Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. Sure, it would have been a lot more fun to beat him, but I’m happy with what we did here. Like I said, a step in the right direction.
“We haven’t been having the best weekends as of late, so to put ourselves in contention and to put together a nice weekend of 65-67, especially here, I’m happy about that.”
Jon Rahm finished fourth at 11-under 277 after carding a 69: “There weren’t many downs today. The only down I would say is the second shot on 15. It’s sad, because I played so good the last three days and that one shot where I feel like I made a perfect swing and it wound up in the water.
“It’s just hurtful. It’s actually two of them, 13 yesterday and today on 15. Besides that, I think I handled myself really well. I played good golf, gave myself plenty of opportunities. I wish I would have made a couple more putts, but it is what it is, it’s hard to win a Major Championship.”
Rory McIlroy slipped to tied fifth after shooting a two over par 74: “I played probably some of the best golf I’ve ever played here this week, it just wasn’t meant to be. Of course, it’s frustrating and it’s hard to take any positives from it right now but at least I put myself in a position, that’s all I’ve wanted to do.
“For the last four years I’ve had top tens but I haven’t been close enough to the lead. Today I got myself there, I didn’t quite do enough but I’ll still come back next year and try again.
“I think 100% I can come back and win here. I’ve played in two final groups in the last seven years, I’ve had five top tens, I play this golf course well. I just haven’t played it well enough at the right times.
“I can’t give a good answer as to what I can take from this into the future because I’m just off the 18thgreen but I’ll sit down and reflect over the next few days and see what I could have done better.”
273 P Reed (USA) 69 66 67 71,
274 R Fowler (USA) 70 72 65 67,
275 J Spieth (USA) 66 74 71 64,
277 J Rahm (Esp) 75 68 65 69,
279 R McIlroy (Nir) 69 71 65 74, H Stenson (Swe) 69 70 70 70, B Watson (USA) 73 69 68 69, C Smith (Aus) 71 72 70 66,
280 M Leishman (Aus) 70 67 73 70,
281 D Johnson (USA) 73 68 71 69, T Finau (USA) 68 74 73 66,
282 J Rose (Eng) 72 70 71 69, L Oosthuizen (RSA) 71 71 71 69, C Hoffman (USA) 69 73 73 67,
283 R Henley (USA) 73 72 71 67, P Casey (Eng) 74 75 69 65,
284 T Fleetwood (Eng) 72 72 66 74, J Thomas (USA) 74 67 70 73,
285 H Matsuyama (Jpn) 73 71 72 69,
286 W Simpson (USA) 76 73 70 67, F Molinari (Ita) 72 74 70 70, J Day (Aus) 75 71 69 71, J Walker (USA) 73 71 71 71,
287 A Hadwin (Can) 69 75 72 71, B Grace (RSA) 73 73 74 67, S Kim (Kor) 75 73 68 71, B Wiesberger (Aut) 70 73 72 72,
288 R Moore (USA) 74 72 72 70, S Kodaira (Jpn) 71 74 71 72, M Kuchar (USA) 68 75 72 73, K Kisner (USA) 72 75 69 72,
289 A Scott (Aus) 75 73 70 71, D Berger (USA) 73 74 71 71, H Li (Chn) 69 76 72 72, T Woods (USA) 73 75 72 69,
290 Z Johnson (USA) 70 74 74 72, P Mickelson (USA) 70 79 74 67,
291 F Couples (USA) 72 74 73 72, R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 69 76 74 72, J Vegas (Ven) 77 69 72 73, B Dechambeau (USA) 74 74 72 71, M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 75 74 67 75, B Langer (Ger) 74 74 71 72,
292 B Harman (USA) 73 74 76 69, T Hatton (Eng) 74 75 73 70, I Poulter (Eng) 74 75 74 69, K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 79 70 72 71,
294 M Kaymer (Ger) 74 73 74 73,
295 V Singh (Fij) 71 74 79 71,
296 X Schauffele (USA) 71 78 72 75, D Ghim (am) (USA) 72 76 74 74,
297 K Stanley (USA) 72 74 75 76,
298 C Reavie (USA) 76 71 75 76,