Patrick Reed Holds Off Fowler, Spieth For Green Jacket

Captain America looks pretty good in green.

Patrick Reed held off Sunday charges from the likes of Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler to claim his first major championship at the Masters on Sunday afternoon, firing a final-round 1-under par 71 to win by one stroke. 

It wasn’t easy for Reed, who fended off an early move from his playing partner, Rory McIlroy, then dealt with the famed Augusta roars reverberating around the course. Finally, on the 72nd hole, Reed needed only to two-putt from some 25 feet to slip into the green jacket. 

 

“I knew it was going to be a dogfight,” Reed said in his post-round press conference. “It’s just a way of God basically saying, ‘Let’s see if you have it. Everyone knows you have it physically with the talent. But do you have it mentally? Can you handle the ups and downs throughout the round?'”

Despite having local ties to Augusta — his parents live in the area and he led Augusta State University to back-to-back NCAA National Championships while in school — Reed played the role of underdog, but it wasn’t as if he had any other choice. 

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“I walked up to the first tee and had a really welcoming cheer from the fans, but then when Rory walked up to the tee, you know, his cheer was a little louder,” Reed said. “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.

“I just kind of went out there and just tried to play golf the best I could and tried to stay in the moment and not worry about everything else.”

McIlroy looked to be up to the challenge through the first few shots of the tournament. Despite a block off the first tee, McIlroy managed to make a par to Reed’s bogey, and the 4-time major champion stuffed his second shot on the par-5 second to four feet. Knowing he had a putt to tie the lead after just two holes, McIlroy shoved his putt off the right edge of the hole, a microcosm of his day.

McIlroy couldn’t get anything going, exiting the stage as Spieth, playing four groups ahead of the final pairing, and Fowler, playing in the group ahead or Reed and McIlroy, made their moves.  

 

Spieth went out in 5-under par 31 after starting the day nine shots back. He had cut the lead to 3 when he entered Amen Corner. Playing those holes in 2-under par, Spieth closed the gap once again and then back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 gave Spieth a real chance with two holes to play. 

An errant drive on the 18th hole clipped a tree 177 yards off the tee, leading to a deflating bogey for Spieth. He would post 13-under par. 

“I think I’ve proven to myself and to others that you never give up,” Spieth said after his round. “I started the round nine shots back and I came out with the idea of just playing the golf course and having a lot of fun doing it and try to shoot a low round and finish the tournament strong and see what happens, if something crazy happens.”

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Fowler, on the other hand, just started his charge. A 1-under par front nine gave way to a back nine that saw Fowler make birdies on 12, 13 and 15 to get to 13-under par. Needing to put the pressure on his Ryder Cup teammate, Fowler answered the bell on the 72nd hole. 

Strong finish aside, Fowler again came up agonizingly close in another major championship, his ninth top-10 finish and his third runner-up in the four biggest events of the year. 

And so the stage was set for Reed. A final helicopter-finish fade off of the 18th tee, a solid approach to the middle of the green and two putts for immortality. Reed has officially arrived.

 

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