Augusta, Ga – He’s known as “Captain America” for his ability to dominate his foes in international team competition. Now after a truly gutsy final round 71 (15 under par total), the scrappy blue collar 27 year old who led Augusta State (now known as Augusta University) to two NCAA titles is the Masters Champion. Reed did just enough to hold off a leaderboard of top ten world ranked twenty somethings that included of Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy. Throw in two time Masters Champion Bubba Watson, and a 42 year old Henrik Stenson, and you have a leaderboard that rivals any in recent memory.
So many expected McIlroy to be the main challenge to Reed’s 3 shot lead to start Masters Sunday, but it was Jordan Spieth who began the charge with an electric front nine 31. Then, with birdies on the inward side at the twelfth, thirteenth and sixteenth, it appeared the greatest comeback in Masters history was in the works. Reed had other ideas as he made a great birdie himself at the par 3 twelfth, a huge break on the thirteenth – where his approach landed short of the green, but stayed on the bank (avoiding the penalty of going into the tributary to Rae’s Creek) enabled Reed to save par. A flushed approach on the fourteenth led to birdie and 15 under par (and a one shot margin over Spieth). Jordan Spieth only needed par to tie the course record 63 and post 14 under par. The charge would fall short as Spieth’s tee shot on the 18th caught a tree branch (on the left side of the chute that guards the entry to the fairway) leaving him scrambling to make par. When his five foot par putt missed, his quest was over. Spieth posted 13 under par (and a final 64) to finish solo third.
Meanwhile Reed kept grinding, a marvelous 2 putt par on the seventeenth was vital because Rickie Fowler had just finished off his own rally by birdieing the last to post 14 under par after a final round 67.
Needing par on the last to win his first major, Reed put his tee shot safely in play down the left side, his approach landed on the green leaving himself a testy two putt from 16 feet above the hole. After a bold first attempt that ran by 3 feet, he poured the winning putt in the heart to became the winner of the 82nd Masters.
Reed reflected on his challengers performances on Sunday by simply saying “I’m glad they ran out holes.” When asked about what was different this week from prior years at Augusta, “This week, I said, ‘Hey, it’s golf. Go play. Be you’, I was able to stay in that mindset the entire week.”