Willett seizes Masters victory as Spieth stumbles
Danny Willett has secured his first Masters title with a three stoke victory over fellow Englishman Lee Westwood and defending champion Jordan Spieth.
Holes 11, 12 and 13 are called Amen Corner for a reason with the stretch of holes defining many a player’s career at this tournament. This year Amen Corner again changed history after what seemed like a forgone conclusion as the last group of the day made its way to the final nine holes.
Danny Willett waves to the crowd after being crowned the 2016 Masters champion (Credit: Getty Images)
Spieth led by five heading into the 11th, however a short time later he would trail Willett by four strokes.
From first place to a tie for fourth in less than an hour. Two bogeys on 10 and 11, before a quadruple bogey on 12 had knocked Spieth right off his perch.
Spieth to his credit fought back, carding birdies on 13 and 15 to move back within two strokes with three holes to play. He had a birdie putt at 16 to move within a stroke but pushed it wide. He then bogeyed 17 after finding the front green side bunker and he all but knew this championship had slipped through his fingers.
“It’s tough, really tough,” said Spieth.
“[After] four birdies in a row on the front par, I knew even par was good. Sometimes that makes it hard. You just play a little conservative and I put some weak swings on it.”
“I have no doubt about that ability, I just think it was a really tough 30 minutes for me that hopefully I never experience again.”
Willett, earlier, had played the round of his life after being five shots behind with six holes left to play when he birdied three of his last six holes to secure victory.
The Englishman closed with a 5-under 67, with no bogeys on his card, to match the best score of the weekend.
“It has not really sunk in yet,” said Willett.
“It was just a very surreal day, it ebbed and flowed. It’s crazy. My son was due today, and he came 12, 13 days earlier, so they were happy for me to come play here.”
“You talk about fate. It’s been a crazy, crazy week.”
Willett’s win today at the Masters is his fifth professional win and second for the year, having won in February at the Dubai Dessert Classic.
He secured his maiden victory in June 2012 at the BMW International Open on the European Tour where he defeated Aussie Marcus Fraser on the fourth extra hole of a sudden death playoff.
As an amateur he became the number one ranked amateur in the world in March 2008, the year Willett won the Australian Medal at Royal Adelaide.
Pre-tournament favourite Jason Day was the best of the three Aussies to make the weekend finishing 1-over and in a tie for 10th – inside the desired top-12 who get automatic invites back next year.
Another favourite coming in to the tournament this week was Adam Scott, however a final round 76 saw him fall back another eight places to finish in a tie for 42nd position at 11-over. Cameron Smith finished at 15-over in his first appearance at Augusta.