Writer: Lucas Garza
Patrick Reed was able to stay on top of the leaderboard over the weekend in Augusta, Georgia, despite valiant efforts from some of golf’s biggest names. Reed posted 273 (-15), which was good enough for a one stroke victory over Rickie Fowler.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were the talk of the golf world when they played a practice round together on Tuesday morning, but the tour’s two most decorated players weren’t able to keep up with the low scoring of the young players. Both players barely made the cut, but were not able to make any type of comeback to put themselves in contention. On Sunday, Tiger was able to post a 69 (-3), ending his double digit streak of major rounds not below par.
Tony Finau made his first Masters appearance, but had an unfortunate incident that was thought would keep him from playing in the tournament. After making a hole in one during the par 3 contest on Friday, Finau dislocated his ankle while celebrating, and popped it back into place right after. Finau continued to play in the par 3 contest, despite the need to rest and ice his ankle to have any hope of playing in the tournament. On Thursday, Finau surprised everyone by posting a 68 (-4), and evening having a solo lead at point during the day.
Jordan Spieth had a two shot lead on Thursday evening after posting a 66 (-6), which included five straight birdies on the back nine. Many thought that Spieth was going to run away with the tournament, and have another wire-to-wire victory, just like he did in 2015. Spieth saw his lead vanish quickly when his first tee shot on Friday morning went well right, resulting in a double bogey. Spieth would end up posting a 74 (+2) on Friday to head into the weekend at -4.
After posting a 69 (-3) on in the first round, Reed came out hot on Friday afternoon, birdieing the first three holes. After three separate instances of three straight birdies, Reed was able to post a 66 (-6), to lead the way at -9 heading into the weekend. Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson were lurking right behind Patrick Reed.
Contenders were able to post low scores on Saturday including a 67 from Patrick Reed and a 65 from Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, and Rickie Fowler. Despite the low scores, Reed still had a three shot lead heading into the final day, having many doubters about Reed’s ability to close out the tournament.
Reed and Rory were the final pairing on Sunday, which had fans hoping to see the emotional match that the two displayed at the 2016 Ryder Cup. Rory was able to make up a shot on Reed early in the round, but McIlroy never seemed to get comfortable with the round at all. He struggled with his putter and missed a few wedge shots that cost him strokes. Reed went about his business on the front nine, and made the turn at even par for the day and with a 3 shot lead.
In the meantime, Jordan Spieth was trying to make the biggest comeback in Masters HIstory. Having started the day nine shots behind Reed, Jordan shot a flawless 31 (-5) on the front to put himself in contention. Spieth’s putter stayed hot, as he rattled off four more birdies to get to -14 for the tournament. He needed a birdie on the 18th hole to break the Masters tournament record (63), but he double crossed his tee shot (again) and hit the tree on the left side of the fairway. After his drive went less than 100 yards, Spieth was able to put himself in good position for a good par save opportunity. His third shot with his wedge was inside of 15ft of the hole, but he missed the uphill put to save par, leaving Spieth a -13 for the tournament, but leaving the patrons a memorable run that won’t be forgotten.
Reed followed up a bogey at 11 with a birdie at 12, followed by a great iron shot and putt at 14 for bridie, reaching -15. Jon Rahm was trying to make a run at the lead, but was not able to and let his emotions out on the course. Rickie Fowler had made the turn at 35 (-1), but was able to reach -13 after three birdies on the back nine heading into the 18th. Fowler was able to hit his approach shot at 18 right where Jordan missed his par putt, but Rickie was able to execute the birdie putt, and able to put himself at -14.
Patrick Reed would not falter though, and he parred 15, 16, and 17. On 18, Reed hit is dive right down the center of the fairway, knowing that he just needed a par to win the Masters. His approach shot was just above the hole, but in a difficult spot where Jordan Spieth three putted from to fail to break Tiger Woods’ tournament scoring record in 2015. Reed hit the putt a little firm, and left himself just over 3 ft to win the Masters. He knocked it dead without a doubt.
Reed was able to put on the coveted green jacket and secured his first major victory. Reed played high school golf in Katy, Texas, began his college career at Georgia before transferring to Augusta State, where he won two NCAA DII golf titles. University of Texas Senior Doug Ghim was the only amateur to make the cut, winning low amatuer honors. Ghim was able to bring home the Masters Silver Cup for his low amateur achievement, as well as three crystal glasses for the three eagles he made throughout the week.