Masters glory for Willett
Danny Willett carded a bogey-free round of 67 to stand tall while others faltered and claim a three-shot win at the Masters.
The 28-year-old claimed the most remarkable of victories, becoming just the second Englishman to win a green jacket, following in the footsteps of Sir Nick Faldo 20 years earlier.
However, the story will be as much of Willett's brilliance as Jordan's Spieth's woe. A quadruple bogey at the par-3 12th derailed Spieth's challenge when the defending champion looked set for back-to-back victories. It was an implosion of the highest order, and one that is sure to haunt the 22-year-old.
Spieth was forced to settle for a tie of second with Lee Westwood (69) on two-under, with Dustin Johnson (71), J.B. Holmes (68) and Paul Casey (67) a further shot back. Hideki Matsuyama (73), Soren Kjeldsen (71), and Matthew Fiztpatrick (67) shared seventh spot, five off the pace.
For the opening nine holes the Masters looked to be Spieth's for the taking. The Texan bounced back from his late stumble on Saturday to take the turn in 32 on the back of four birdies in a row from the sixth to the ninth. But then it all went horribly wrong.
A bogey at the 10th after finding the greenside bunker after a poor tee shot was followed by another errand tee shot at the 11th as Spieth found the Georgia Pines well right of the fairway. And it didn't end there. The 12th saw Spieth imploded like never before. After finding the water from the tee at the par-3, Spieth elected against going to the drop zone, and from near the 13th tee attempted his third and found the water again. With his fifth he found the bunker beyond the green. He would get up and down for a seven.
In the space of an hour, Willett had gone from being five shots behind Spieth to being two shots clear.
The Englishman's two birdies on the opening nine pushed him into the red, and now with a chance of victory suddenly well within his grasp, he notched up birdies at the 13th, 15th and 16th. With the lead firmly his, Willett held strong. He found the middle of the green at the last, completed his par to stay at five-under, and from there all that was left to do was wait. It was hard not to notice that prior to his putt Willett had taken off his jumper to reveal a green shirt, he had always believed.
Of course, there were others who could surpass him on the closing stretch. Johnson had his chances, but while the long-hitting American outplayed the rest of the field in so many aspects, he simply did not putt like a champion. A four-putt at the fifth had delivered an early setback, and a three-putt at the 17th finally ended his charge.
Still, Spieth remained in the hunt. The world number two had done well to regain his composure to register birdies at 13 and 15 to stand two off the lead. In 2011, Charl Schwartzel birdied the last four holes to win the Masters, Mark O'Meara birdied the last two to win in 1998 – there was still a chance.
But this was not to be Spieth's day. A missed birdie chance at the 16th was followed by a bogey at the 17th after finding the sand, and with that the Masters was Willett's.
In a cruel twist of fate it was Spieth who had to present Willett with his green jacket, and it was fate that seemed in Willett's favour from the start. The Englishman was the last man to arrive at Augusta, having delayed his arrival to be present at the birth of his son, a son who was due to be born on Masters Sunday. No doubt, Willett will forever be greatful for little Zachariah arriving 11 days early. Had his son not arrived early, Willett would not have played at Augusta, and his search for a major would go on.
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