| The Masters Re­view

HK Golfer - - Contents - By Louie Chan

Patrick Reed, a.k.a Cap­tain Amer­ica, fin­ished with a one-shot vic­tory at Au­gusta Na­tional to win his first Masters and Ma­jor ti­tle.

Patrick Reed’s vic­tory marked his first-ever Ma­jor win and made him the ninth first­time ma­jor win­ner in the last 10 Ma­jors. His vic­tory burnt down all the nar­ra­tives that had been es­tab­lished com­ing into the week­end: Tiger back in the Masters field for the first time in three years, Rory McIl­roy go­ing for a ca­reer Grand Slam, Spi­eth try­ing to get over the 12th-hole-shaped mon­key on his back, and Justin Thomas look­ing to so­lid­ify the run he started last sum­mer with his own green jacket.

In­stead, Reed just showed up at Au­gusta on Thurs­day, shot a 69. Then fol­lowed up with a 66 on Fri­day and a 67 on Sat­ur­day to give him the 54-hole lead and put him three shots ahead go­ing into Sun­day’s round. And he wasn’t done there.

Spi­eth played ma­jes­ti­cally on Sun­day, ty­ing the fi­nal-round course record at the Masters with a 64. He went 5-un­der through the first nine holes, which led to some TV broad­cast­ers be­gin sig­nal­ing the 62-watch alarms. And then Spi­eth fol­lowed that up with some truly spe­cial holes on the back nine: a birdie on 12 fol­lowed by an as­ton­ish­ing birdie putt at 16. His tee shot on the 18th clipped the last branch in his way, drop­ping his ball some 267

yards from the green. His 8-foot par putt for a record-break­ing 63 nar­rowly missed on the right. Spi­eth put up the most un­likely fight and was on the verge of the great­est come­back in the Masters his­tory. He started nine shots be­hind go­ing into the fi­nal round and was inches away on two shots from a chance at an­other green jacket.

But Reed just held on all day long, When the roars for Spi­eth sounded around Au­gusta, Reed was lis­ten­ing. As Spi­eth crept up the leader­board, draw­ing nearer and nearer to where Reed sat for much of the day at 14-un­der, Reed held steady. He found a way out of ev­ery jam - each of Reed’s three bo­geys on the day was fol­lowed up by a birdie within the next two holes - and ev­ery er­rant shot he hit was quickly reme­died. He fin­ished the day with a 71, his only round of the week­end not in the 60s, but it was ex­actly enough.

A lot was made be­fore (and dur­ing) Sun­day’s round about the Reed-McIl­roy matchup and their last Ry­der Cup show­down. But Au­gusta Na­tional proved to be a much tougher op­po­nent than any­one Reed could have faced head-to-head on Sun­day. He started the day with a three-shot lead, but bo­geyed the open­ing hole, seem­ingly giv­ing his op­po­nents a chance. He’d go on to fin­ish the front nine

at even par, but with the surg­ing Spi­eth and a qui­etly re­silient Fowler in front of him.

McIl­roy, mean­while, will have to wait an­other year for a shot at the ca­reer Grand Slam. Trail­ing by three shots to start the fi­nal round, he closed to within one shot af­ter two holes. That was as close as he came. McIl­roy’s put­ter be­trayed him, and he was never a fac­tor on the back nine. He closed with a 74 and tied for fifth.

When Reed bo­geyed hole 11, it looked like a prime op­por­tu­nity for Spi­eth to make his move. But sure enough, right af­ter the win­dow opened, Reed slammed it shut again with birdies on hole 12 and 14. Each time Reed’s com­peti­tors thought they’d found a way in, he locked it down.

Reed walked up to the 18th green while echoes of cheers for Fowler - who’d birdied to get within one of Reed - still seemed to ring. Fowler holed an 8-foot birdie putt on the fi­nal hole for a 67. He had to set­tle for his third run­ner-up fin­ish in a Ma­jor. He left the scor­ing cabin when Reed two-putted for par down the slip­pery slope on the 18th green and waited for a chance to greet Reed.

‘‘Glad I at least made the last one, make him earn it,’’ Fowler said with a grin.

Reed’s re­cep­tion at the 18th green seemed to be just a lit­tle less warm, fit­ting of his place among his fel­low young Amer­i­cans. Cur­rently the hold­ers of all four ma­jor tour­na­ments are Amer­i­cans aged 27 and un­der. Start­ing with Brooks Koepka’s win at the U.S. Open, then Spi­eth’s vic­tory at the Open Cham­pi­onship, fol­lowed by Thomas’s takeover at the PGA Cham­pi­onship. The young golfers on the PGA Tour are all vy­ing for golf su­per­star­dom. Sun­day proved to be Reed’s day of reck­on­ing, as he firmly demon­strated that noth­ing scares him, even be­ing a fi­nal-round leader at Au­gusta Na­tional. He sure isn’t the most pop­u­lar man on the tour, but he proved on Sun­day he should be one of the most feared.

“A lot of peo­ple, for a long time, maybe don’t say his name as of­ten as they should. That’s what I think,” Jus­tine, Reed’s wife, was say­ing shortly af­ter her hus­band com­pleted his win. “I’ve al­ways thought he’s a great player. That’s what he did to­day. He showed his true col­ors.”

“I walked up to the first tee and had a re­ally welcoming cheer, but then when Rory walked up to the tee, you know, his cheer was a lit­tle louder,” said Reed. “But that’s an­other thing that just kind of played into my hand. Not only did it fuel my fire a lit­tle bit, but also, it just takes the pres­sure off of me and adds it back to him. You had a lot of the guys pick­ing him to win over me, and it’s just kind of one of those things that the more chat­ter you have in your ear and about ex­pec­ta­tions and ev­ery­thing, the harder it is to play golf.”

Jor­dan Spi­eth birdies hole 16 dur­ing the fi­nal round

Rickie Fowler ac­knowl­edges pa­trons of Au­gusta Na­tional dur­ing the fi­nal round

The golden young gen­er­a­tion of Amer­i­can golfers - Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Jor­dan Spi­eth

Tiger Woods on hole 1 dur­ing the fi­nal round

A lot was made on the Sun­day’s round about the Reed-McIl­roy matchup and their last Ry­der Cup show­down

Patrick Reed is pre­sented with the green jacket by Ser­gio Gar­cia dur­ing the green jacket cer­e­mony af­ter winning the 2018 Masters

Masters cham­pi­ons Jack Nick­laus, Gary Player and Tom Wat­son play­ing the Par-3 Con­test

A score­board is seen as Patrick Reed plays the fourth green dur­ing the fi­nal round of the 2018 Masters

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