Patrick Reed Master of the game

Well, another legendary week and remarkable chapter added to the Augusta National library. It all started on Easter Sunday with the annual fun of the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals. Then defending Champion Sergio Garcia hosted the annual Champions Dinner choosing a menu of an International Salad, Lobster Rice, and an undisclosed dessert made by his wife Angela. All of the living former Masters Champions attended.

Then come Wednesday came the fun of the Par Three Contest. The highlights were two holes in one from Jack Nicklaus Grandson Gary and Tony Finau who while celebrating started running to the green and dislocated his ankle he popped it back in place and kept playing. Two time Masters Champion Tom Watson who retired from the actual tournament two years ago won the contest for the 2nd time.

Then it was time to get to business after the always beautiful opening tee shots by Nicklaus and Gary Player two men who combined for 97 Appearances in the Masters and 9 victories. So many storylines were in the air as the 82nd playing of the Masters got underway. Was four-time Champion Tiger Woods in position to get his fifth 13 years after his last? Could Phil Mickelson join Woods, Arnold Palmer, and Nicklaus in the four-time winners club? Could Jordan Speith keep his remarkable run of Augusta success going? Could any one of the brilliant young talent in the game get a win? Or could Sergio Garcia defend his title?

When the round got underway Woods struggled he was +4 as he walked off the 12th green with a bogey, he salvaged his round though with birdies at 14, 15 & 16 to finish his round at +1 (73). Defending Champion Garcia his tournament ended early he came to the 15th hole +2 for his round, he put his 2nd shot into the Par Five in the water, he then proceeded to put four more in the water and walked off the 15th Green with a 13, ten shots more then what he made in the Final Round a year ago an Eagle that propelled him into a playoff that he won over Justin Rose and just like that his title defence was over with an opening +9 (81). Mickelson played a steady round, but it was a familiar pair of faces on top of the leaderboard. Charley Hoffman who is quickly establishing himself as one of the greatest 1st round players in the history of the Masters shot a -4 (68) and Spieth the 2015 Champion who made five straight birdies on the back nine and salvaged a great bogey save on the 18th green to take the 1st round lead with a -6 (66). The big story of the day was Finau on that injured ankle shot a -4 (68)

Friday always an emotional day with players jocking for position to make the cut, and past Champions saying farewell. In 2015 it was Ben Crenshaw who won in 1984 and 1995, then in 2016 it was Watson who won in 1977 and 1981, this year it was 1998 Champion Mark O’Meara who said goodbye. While they didn’t say it word for word 1988 and 1991 Champions Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam said they might be done as well. In the morning the leaders faltered Hoffman shot a 73, Speith began with a Double Bogey on one, and another bogey on two on his way to a 74, Mickelson had tread water until a triple bogey on nine ended his chances. The afternoon group didn’t do much better with the exception of Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas nobody who went off afternoon broke 70. Including Woods who made two double bogeys on five and twelve after another ball found the water on twelve. Patrick Reed made a move birding all the Par Fives adding three other birdies, as opposed to one bogey on his way to a -6 (66). While other names like Dustin Johnson, two time Champion Bubba Watson and former Major Champions Rose and Louis Oosthuizen joined the fun. Of the six Amateur in the field, only Doug Ghim the US Amateur runner-up made the weekend. Among the 20 past Masters Champions in the field only 2015 Champion Spieth, 2012 & 2014 Champion Watson, 1997, 2001, 2002 & 2005 Champion Woods, 2004, 2006 & 2010 Champion Mickelson, 2000 Champion Vijay Singh, 2013 Champion Adam Scott, 1992 Fred Couples, 1985 & 1993 Champion Bernhard Langer and 2007 Zach Johnson made the weekend. Among those who missed the cut were the past two Champions 2017 Garcia and 2016, Danny Willett. 2011 Champion Charl Schwartzel, 2009 Champion Angel Cabrera, 2008 Champion Trevor Immelman, and 2003 Champion Mike Weir.

Saturday Moving Day at Augusta always an exciting day. Rory McIlroy just a Masters win away from the Grand Slam starts five shots back of Reed tied with Speith. 2016 Open Champion Henrik Stenson is just four back and Marc Leishman will be paired with Reed just two back. However, the day would prove to be a struggle for Leishman as he struggled on the greens never making a birdie and bogeying 7 for a +1 (73). The man who made the biggest early move of the day was Tommy Fleetwood who started the day at even par nine shots back of Reed, he fired a bogey-free -6 (66) helped by five straight birdies from 13-17. On a day of low scoring, Speith and Justin Thomas failed to take advantage and shot 71 and 70 respectively. Stenson also failed to make a run salvaging just a 70. Three men shot -7 (65) including McIlroy nearly acing the 6th hole and Eagling the 8th he shot -5 on the front nine, and added birdies at 15 and 18 along with a great Par save at 13 to shoot a bogey-free 65. Rahm and Rickie Fowler followed suit. However, they were all still behind Reed who Eagled both Par Fives on the inward nine to go along with four birdies including three in a row from 8-10 on his way to a -5 (67). Both Woods and Mickelson fell further out of contention Woods shot an Even Par 72, and Mickelson tripled bogey the 1st hole and shot +2 (74)

Masters Sunday always an exciting day on the Sports Calander. Reed begins his day with a three-shot lead over McIlroy. Five ahead of Fowler, and six ahead of Rahm. Woods and Mickelson both rounded of their Masters with their best rounds of the week Woods a -3 (69) and Mickelson a -5 (67) they finished +1 and +2 289, 290 respectively. Paul Casey made the biggest move of the early starters filtering the Course record before a couple of late bogeys gave him a -7 (65) to finish the tournament at -5 283. Doug Ghim holed out from the greenside bunker for birdie on 18 and concluded a magical week with his father caddying for him with a +2 (74) to finish at +8 296 winning Low Amateur honors.

Jordan Speith began the day nine shots off Reed’s lead he picked up two early strokes by birding both 1 and 2. Both McIlroy and Reed hit wayward tee shots on the 1st hole Reed in the left side trees, and McIlroy in the right trees. Both put their 2nd shots in a greenside bunker. McIlroy salvaged an up and down for Par, while a poor bunker shot led to a bogey for Reed and his lead was down to two. Just like Speith, Rahm picked up two quick strokes with birdies on 2 and 3, Fowler got off to a slow start with four straight Pars, before bogeying five. The Final pair played the 2nd hole differently a poor tee shot put Reed in a tough spot, but McIlroy stuffed his 2nd shot to four feet. Reed was in another greenside bunker and misplayed another shot leading to a disappointing Par. McIlroy had a chance to tie the lead but slipped his Eagle Putt by the hole. However, with a birdie, he cut Reed’s lead to one. Spieth kept his momentum going with a birdie at five, a big Par save on six and two more birdies on 8 and 9 to go out in -5 (31). All of a sudden he was three shots off the lead. Reed gained his stroke back with a birdie at 3, and McIlroy bogeyed the 3rd. Reed made a clutch Par save on four, while McIlroy birdied the hole, but gave it right back with another bogey at five. Rahm rounded out his front nine with a birdie at seven and two Par’s on 8 and 9. Reed made a bogey at six but got it back with a birdie at 7. McIlroy dropped another shot at the Par Five 8th and was four back of Reed.

Spieth was three holes ahead of Reed and stood on the 12th tee a hole Spieth has played at +9 in his four Masters Sundays. He played a safe tee shot over the green then did the unthinkable sinking his putt from off the green for birdie and he was just three back. Fowler started to string something together at the 8th hole a birdie there then another at 9 got him to -10. Both Reed and McIlroy pared 10 and bogeyed 11, Speith kept his run going with birdies at 13, 15 and 16, and momentarily tied Reed for the lead. Fowler kept going with birdies at 12, and 13 and he was just one back. Reed slammed another door with an improbable birdie at 12. Then on 13, a big moment Reed after a poor tee shot went for the green with a hybrid and came up short. He got lucky as his ball stayed out of Rae’s Creek, and he managed to save Par. McIlroy made his 2nd birdie of the round on 13, but a Bogey on 14 ended his chances.

As Reed stood on the 15th tee it was a four-man race between him, Fowler, Rahm, and Spieth. Spieth -9 for his round was flawless until the 18th tee, his tee shot clipped a tree and fell just 150 yards from the tee. He played it up to a good distance and gave himself a chance to save Par. Meanwhile, on 15 Rahm’s chances ended when his 2nd shot found the pond in front of the green leading to Bogey. Fowler birdied 15 and he was just two back. Spieth hit a beautiful wedge shot and gave himself an uphill Par Putt but he misread it and his only bogey of the day ended his chances despite a brilliant -8 (64) to end with -13 275. It was down to Reed and Fowler, separated by one hole and one shot Fowler on 16 tee, Reed in perfect position in 15 fairway. Fowler pulled his tee shot on 16 into a greenside bunker but got up and down for Par. Reed made a clutch birdie on 15 to gain his lead to two. He then pared 16, and 17, Fowler Pared 17. Then two men were separated by 300 yards and two shots. Fowler played a brilliant 2nd into 18 knowing Birdie was a must, Reed safely found the fairway and watched as Fowler poured in his birdie putt to cut the lead to one. Reed leading by one hit a 7 iron into the green and got a bit unlucky as he carried it a bit too far staying on the upper ridge he was two putts from victory. He played a brilliant first putt to four feet and made it right in the center to take the Masters title. It’s the fourth straight first time Major winner at Augusta, Reed follows Spieth, Willett, and Garcia.

On Sunday Night Augusta Chairmen Fred Ridley presented Doug Ghim with the Low Amateur Trophy, then as per tradition defending Champion Garcia slipped the Green Jacket onto Reed’s shoulders.

And another chapter was written into Augusta anals only 367 days until the next one.

Final Leaderboard

Patrick Reed (-15) 273

Rickie Fowler (-14) 274

Jordan Spieth (W) (-13) 275

Jon Rahm (-11) 277

Cameron Smith (-9) 279

Bubba Watson (W)x2 (-9) 279

Henrik Stenson (-9) 279

Rory McIlroy (-9) 279

Marc Leishman (-8) 280

Tony Finau (-7) 281

Dustin Johnson (-7) 281

Charley Hoffman (-6) 282

Justin Rose (-6) 282

Louis Oosthuizen (-6) 282

Paul Casey (-5) 283

Russell Henley (-5) 283

Justin Thomas (-4) 284

Tommy Fleetwood (-4) 284

Hideki Matsuyama (-3) 285

Webb Simpson (-2) 286

Francesco Molinari (-2) 286

Jimmy Walker (-2) 286

Jason Day (-2) 286

Branden Grace (-1) 287

Adam Hadwin (-1) 287

Si Woo Kim (-1) 287

Bernd Wiesberger (-1) 287

Ryan Moore (E) 288

Satoshi Kodaira (E) 288

Kevin Kisner (E) 288

Matt Kuchar (E) 288

Tiger Woods (W) x4 (+1) 289

Adam Scott (+1) 289

Daniel Berger (+1) 289

Haotong Li (+1) 289

Phil Mickelson (W) x3 (+2) 290

Zach Johnson (W) (+2) 290

Bryson Dechambeau (+3) 291

Rafael Cabrera Bello (+3) 291

Bernhard Langer (+3) 291

Fred Couples (W) (+3) 291

Jhonattan Vegas (+3) 291

Matthew Fitzpatrick (+3) 291

Ian Poulter (+4) 292

Brian Harman (+4) 292

Tyrell Hatton (+4) 292

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (+4) 292

Martin Kaymer (+6) 294

Vijay Singh (+7) 295

Doug Ghim (A) (+8)  296

Xander Schauffle (+8) 296

Kyle Stanley (+9) 297

Chez Reavie (+10) 298

Missed Cut

Sandy Lyle (W)

Charl Schwartzel (W)

Jose Maria Olazabal (W) x2

Jason Dufner

Patrick Cantlay

Shubhankar Sharma

Thomas Pieters

Ted Potter Jr

Brenden Steele

Dylan Frittelli

Danny Willett (W)

Ross Fisher

Wesley Bryan

Pat Perez

Patton Kizzire

Trevor Immelman (W)

Joaquin Niemann

Yuta Ikeda

Alex Noren

Kevin Chappell

Doc Redman (A)

Gary Woodland

Yusaku Miyazato

Austin Cook

Billy Horschel

Ian Woosnam (W)

Mike Weir (W)

Larry Mize (W)

Angel Cabrera (W)

Yuxin Lin (A)

Mark O’Meara (W)

Sergio Garcia (W)

Matt Parziale (A)

Harry Ellis (A)

(W)= Past Champion X= Multiple Wins (A)= Amateur

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