By Evin Priest
The drama. Augusta National’s back nine certainly delivers it each year. Could you have scripted this one? No way.
England’s Danny Willett both contributed to, and survived, the mayhem to win his first Major championship at The Masters with a 72-hole total of 5-under par.
Twenty years after countryman Nick Faldo broke Greg Norman’s heart win his third Masters in 1996, Willett fired a sizzling final round 67 to win the green jacket by three shots over compatriot Lee Westwood and defending champion Jordan Spieth.
Starting the day in the lead at 3-under, Spieth looked to have shut the gate in playing a stunning front nine of 32. But starting the back nine at 7-under, Spieth imploded – he bogeyed 10 and 11, before a disastrous quadruple-bogey 7 with two balls dunked in the water at the infamous par-3 12th. Panic stations were high.
And there stood Willett, the European Tour star and world No.12 biding his time with a 2-under front nine of 34. As Spieth collapsed, Willett swooped. He grabbed birdies at 13 and 14 to take a lead of two over Dustin Johnson, who replied with a screamer second shot at the par-5 13th. But as it did all day, DJ’s putter deserted him and the best he could do was birdie to reach 3-under.
— The Masters (@TheMasters) April 10, 2016
Willet, 28, stuck it close at the par-3 16th and collected another birdie. He parred in, walked off the famous 18th green with a big smile, and waited…
Waited for Spieth, who was not done yet. The defending champion showed fighting spirit and pulled it back with two birdies at 13 and 15. But a bogey at the par-4 17th was the killer blow and Willett and co celebrated in the clubhouse, knowing a breakthrough Major had arrived.
Spieth admitted he “probably should’ve gone over to the drop zone” at the par-3 12th.
“Compounded mistakes, lack of discipline and a couple of weak swings in a row and (suddenly) I’m not in the lead anymore. It was a very tough 30 minutes for me that hopefully I never experience again.”