Danny Willett clinched victory over defending champion Jordan Spieth in the final round of the Masters last night at Augusta National. Willett shot a flawless round of 6, a total of five under par for the day and deservedly wore the famous green jacket with pride as he was crowned champion. The Englishman was the first British player to win the prestigious tournament in twenty years since Nick Faldo claimed victory in 1996. Further to that he is the first European golfer to win since 1999 when Spain’s José María Olazábal was victorious. Willett was unsure of his fate at the Masters only a few short weeks ago with wife Nicole due to give birth on Masters Sunday no less. However, as Willett put it himself, son Zachariah listened to his father and arrived thirteen days early, making the last two weeks ones to remember forever.
Willett was ranked as the world number one amateur golfer in 2008 before he opted to turn professional. He received his European Tour Card for the following year after successfully coming through qualifying school. In June 2012, Willett was victorious for the first time on the European Tour when he won the BMW International Open in Cologne, Germany.
In 2015, he was in contention for the win at The Open Championship in St. Andrews. However, a third round of 72 seen him drop down the leader board and tie for 6th place in the tournament. Until last night, that was his best finish at a major tournament.
Danny Willett’s victory and Jordan Spieth’s demise
Danny Willett’s epic victory goes hand in hand with poor Jordan Spieth’s nightmare on Masters Sunday. Jordan Spieth, the defending champion led the field at Augusta all weekend. Even on Saturday when winds were high and conditions tough, Spieth managed to hold on to his lead going into the final round of the tournament. But something was not quite right. Spieth was visibly struggling and before both the third and fourth round at Augusta, he arrived at the course hours ahead of his scheduled tee times in an attempt to remove any flaws from his game that day. At some points during the final two rounds of the tournament, Spieth’s driving style appeared almost erratic, a trait not associated with his style of play.
It all fell apart for Jordan Spieth at the notorious ‘Amen Corner’. After a bogey at the tenth hole followed by another bogey at the eleventh hole, Spieth was still in with a chance and had not lost hope. However, it was not to be and a quadruple bogey at the twelfth ultimately dashed Spieth’s dream of retaining his Masters title.
Willett kept his cool and made the most of Spieth’s misfortune. He played the last few holes with confidence, making a birdie at the sixteenth. Many in Willett’s position may have lost their nerve but he followed through to clinch his first major victory. Spieth was visibly fighting back tears of frustration but he took the defeat with class. This was the second time in three years that Spieth was tied for second place in this tournament. His disappointment was amplified when as is traditional, Spieth had to present new champion Danny Willett with his very own green jacket.
Rory McIlroy fails to complete career Grand Slam
Another man disappointed with his performance was Rory McIlroy, who was hoping to claim victory at Augusta and complete his career grand slam of having won all four major tournaments. After an impressive start to the weekend, McIlroy began Saturday paired with defending champion Jordan Spieth. However, the strong wind made conditions at Augusta extremely difficult and a third round of 77 sealed his fate ensuring he would not be completing his career grand slam this year. Speaking after his fourth round seventy-one yesterday, Rory McIlroy claimed he did not think the defeat was anything to do with his game, but more about how he is dealing mentally with the pressure and the thrill of the achievement. Unfortunately, he feels that is what is holding him back.
Some ace shots on the 16th
Aside from the events dominating the top of the leader board, Sunday in Augusta seen some unusual occurrence’s. Irish golfer Shane Lowry, although not in contention on Sunday afternoon, notched up the tournament’s first hole in one of the weekend at the iconic sixteenth hole. Most unusually two more players followed suit with US Ryder Cup Captain, Davis Love and Louis Oosthuizen doing the same at the sixteenth hole. It was the first time the tournament had ever seen three holes in one in the entire Masters weekend let alone in the same day.
New father and new Masters Champion
Sunday at Augusta seen a fairy tale ending to the last two weeks for new father and new Masters champion Danny Willett. Willett who was already rising rapidly in the world rankings is now definitely one to watch. We wish the new Masters champion all the best for the coming season.