Spieth wins his first Major Championship
Jordan Spieth delivered a dominant performance to win his first Major Championship at the Masters Tournament at Augusta yesterday.
The 21-year-old American carded a two-under-par 70 on Sunday to triumph on 18-under-par, capping a record-breaking display that saw him equal the lowest winning score in Masters history.
Spieth, the new world number two, became the first player in 39 years to lead a Masters from start to finish and set the record for most birdies in a Masters, passing Phil Mickelson’s total of 25 to finish with 28. He also set new marks for low 36-hole score (130) and low 54-hole score (200).
Although Spieth managed to remain clear of the field at the top of the leaderboard, he was chased by some of the biggest names in golf. 2013 Open Champion Phil Mickelson made a big push over the weekend to try and bring himself back into contention and put some pressure on his young American counterpart. Mickelson shot a five-under-par round on Saturday afternoon and was five shots back at the beginning of play on Sunday. However, it seemed that whenever he made a birdie, he followed it up with a bogey and despite an eagle at the par-5 15th hole, Mickelson was unable to put any real pressure on Spieth.
Justin Rose was also making birdies, but couldn’t manage to close the gap from Spieth who pulled away on the back nine. It was a strong result for Rose and finishing tied second at Augusta will give him nothing but confidence ahead of the US Open where he is a previous champion.
2014 Champion Golfer of the Year Rory McIlroy entered the Masters this week with a clear goal to become the sixth player to achieve the career Grand Slam. That goal seemed out of reach after two opening rounds of 71 but a run of birdies on the back nine on Friday made sure McIlroy avoided the cut line. A 68 on Saturday which included four birdies and an eagle, was bettered on the final day, where he carded a six-under-par 66. After a strong weekend the Northern Irishman finished in fourth place, his best result at a Masters.
Tiger Woods showed improvements to his game and started the final round paired alongside McIlroy. A 68 on Friday got Woods into the weekend and at times Woods looked like the same player who lifted the Claret Jug three times. After three solid rounds Woods was unable to carry his form onto the final day, and struggled to find fairways and make much needed birdies. The three-time Open Champion carded a final round 73 to finish five-under-par for the week and in a tie for 17th place, a performance that suggests he is poised to climb back up the world rankings.
But the week belonged to Spieth, who will now try to carry the momentum forward to The Open at St Andrews. Despite not having a particularly eye catching record at his last two Opens, tied 44th at Muirfield and tied 36th at Hoylake, Spieth has delivered impressive results on Britain’s links. At the 2008 Junior Open at Hesketh, Spieth finished in second place, and in 2011 a then 17-year-old Spieth was part of the US Walker Cup team at Royal Aberdeen where he won both singles matches.
The first Major Championship of the year always generates excitement for the rest of the season, and if this week at The Masters is anything to go by, the 144th Open at the home of golf is set to be a memorable affair.