America acclaimed a new golfing superstar yesterday at Augusta, as the 21-year-old Texan Jordan Spieth confidently held off all challengers on the final day, to lead the Masters from wire-to-wire. His overall total of 18 under par equalled the scoring record of the great Tiger Woods at the event and he became the second youngest winner (after Woods) of the title, as the records continued to tumble. Englishman Justin Rose held on to share the runner-up spot with Phil Mickelson, but neither player in truth managed to get close enough to pressurise the eventual winner, as he maintained a four shot advantage at the end.

Spieth demonstrated a maturity beyond his years over the four days of competition, heading the field after each round but coping admirably with the pressure and expectation that brings with it.

Advertisements
Advertisements

He benefitted from a fast start in his final round to ensure that no early momentum was handed over to his closest pursuers, Rose and Mickelson. They were left hoping against hope for a collapse late on by the young pacesetter, but he held his nerve until the very last hole when understandably he dropped his guard slightly to bogey the 18th, thus 'only' tying with Woods' 72-hole record for the Masters. That didn't seem to unduly concern the composed Spieth though, as he celebrated with his family and friends afterwards, who had joined the galleries by the final green in anticipation of his success.

Mickelson had faltered mid-way through his final round to end all hopes of the victory, but he battled back with an eagle on the 15th hole to move back into contention with Rose for second.

Advertisements

Rose matched Spieth by bogeying the last hole, dropping him back to the tie with Mickelson, but he seemed pleased with his efforts afterwards. In years gone by his total would have been enough for the Green Jacket, but not this time around.

Rory McIlroy played the last round with Woods, and had the better of their exchanges, forcing his way up to 4th place with a wonderful round of 66. How he would have liked that earlier in the event, as he chased but came up short in his pursuit of the career grand slam. That will now have to wait for at least another year. Woods perhaps unsurprisingly fell back in the later stages to 5 under, but still showed enough at Augusta to suggest that he still has plenty to offer the game. The rising Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama also excelled with a final round of 66, finishing just a shot behind McIlroy.

There were also encouraging displays further down the field by the English duo of Ian Poulter and Paul Casey, who both shared in a tie for 6th place to enhance their credentials on the US tour.

Advertisements

Spieth's victory demonstrated that his second-place at Augusta twelve months ago had been no fluke, and the golfing public will wonder if this is the birth of a new phenomenon to rival McIlroy's recent dominance in the sport. They now stand first and second in the world rankings after the weekend, the Irishman holding the advantage for now in that regard.