American Ryder Cup villain Patrick Reed withstood a barrage of birdies from Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth last night to claim his first major title in tense fashion at the U.S. Masters. Shooting a one-under 71, Reed finished one shot clear of Fowler at 15-under par and two ahead of Spieth, who signed for a lowest of day 64.
Reed’s playing partner, Rory McIlroy, has a stone cold putter, missing on numerous occasions from within ten feet to finish with a disappointing 74, six shots behind. It had all started so well for the man from Holywood, with a guided-missile 5-iron on the par-5 second setting up a glorious eagle opportunity. However, a yipped putt from 6 feet set the tone for an impotent performance over the rest of the round.
Reed held his nerve throughout the day as Spieth charged through the field, at one point looking likely to break or equal the course record. A drive worthy of any club golfer on the final hole put paid to any realistic chance Spieth had of donning the Green Jacket for the second time. A straight pull left off the tee crashed into the trees, the ball nestling only 120 yards from the tee-box. A valiant third shot from 100 yards left him with a 12 footer for the par that would have applied maximum pressure on Reed but for once his putter failed him.
The dogged ability to keep holing out from under 8 feet was the key determining factor for Reed as he refused to buckle on the back nine. A guttural “Come-On!!” followed a magnificent birdie on the par-3 12th, his desire and passion for the battle evident for all to see and hear.
Crowd favourite, Rickie Fowler, produced a stunning birdie at the last to close within one shot of Reed but unfortunately it was not to be for the Californian who was bedecked in his traditional orange colours. A gutsy performance bodes well for him eventually lifting one of golf’s majors.
It remains to be seen how yesterday will have affected McIlroy’s confidence, especially after the brilliance of the first 3 days. However it’s wise to remember what happened the last time he had disastrous final day at Augusta. The U.S Open cannot come quickly enough.