2018-04-08 19:29:04
Patrick Reed Wins the Masters in a Breakthrough Performance

19:29, April 08 186 0

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Patrick Reed won the Masters on Sunday, missing a chance to make history but fending off all challenges to secure his first victory in a major tournament.

Reed closed with a one-under-par 71, his first round over 69 this week at Augusta National. He had a chance to become the first player to post four sub-70 scores in the tournament.

Reed still finished at 15 under, a stroke ahead of Rickie Fowler, who was also seeking his first win in a major event.

Jordan Spieth, the 2015 champion, started the final round nine strokes back, but produced the best score of the day, an eight-under-par 64. He leapt past everyone but Fowler and Reed, who went into the tournament with five PGA Tour victories and had not won on the tour since August 2016.

Reed had historically not fared well at Augusta National. In four prior appearances here, he missed the cut twice, never broke 70 and always finished outside the top 20. But this week, he put every part of his game together. Among other things, he played the par 5s in a total of 13 under.

Reed, 27, spent the final round in a pairing with Rory McIlroy, 28, whose bid to become the sixth man (and the first European) to complete a career grand slam will have to wait another year. McIlroy trailed Reed by three shots as they began their round, and he looked tight from the start. McIlroy played the front nine in one over and posted a two-over 74 to finish at nine under over all and in a tie for fifth.

Fowler, 29, began the day five strokes off the lead and closed with a five-under 67 for his eighth top-five finish in 33 majors.

McIlroy and Reed had separated themselves from the rest of the field through 54 holes, and their pairing on Sunday emanated a match-play vibe reminiscent of their singles duel at the 2016 Ryder Cup.

Reed got the best of McIlroy that time, too, with a 1-up victory for the triumphant United States team.

Playing four groups ahead, Spieth, the first-round leader, raced into contention with a five-under 31 on the front nine.

If anybody appreciates how tenuous a lead is at Augusta National, it is Spieth, who appeared poised to post back-to-back victories when he led by five heading into the final nine in 2016.