Golf

Jordan Speith wins Masters in record-breaking fashion

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Jordan Speith equalled Tiger Woods' 1997 record total of 18 under to win the Masters at Atlanta National for the first time at the age of only 21.

Speith, who is 106 days short of his 22nd birthday, became the second youngest winner of the tournament after Woods won when he was 21 years and 104 days old in 1997. He also became the first golfer in 39 years to lead the Masters from start to finish.

Possibility

World number one Rory McIlroy came into the tournament with the possibility of becoming only the sixth golfer to win a career Grand Slam (all four majors) however could only finish fourth on 12 under par.

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Justin Rose finished four behind Speith on 14 under, having been paired with the American for the final round, but didn't have enough to close the gap significantly over the 18 hole course.  

Record

The young Texan, who came second in last years Masters, set the record for number of birdies in a week at 28, surpassing Phil Mickelson's previous record. Coming into the 18th hole Speith was holding the course record with -19 but bogeyed the putt and had to settle for -18, becoming only the second golfer in Masters history to reach the tally after Woods in 1997.

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Rose was very unlucky not to win this year's competition. In 12 of the last 13 Masters, 14 under would have been enough to win a green jacket outright. Unfortunately Speith was untouchable over the four rounds and never showed any signs of buckling under the pressure. The only time he broke his steely expression was to smile as he walked to the green on the 18th.

Speith was on fire from the start, completing an eight under round on Thursday and following up with a six under round on Friday to have a two day total of 14 under; the lowest halfway score for 39 years.

Chase

A double bogey on the 17th on Saturday gave the chasing pack hope and Rose replied immediately with a birdie, but playing partner Speith struck back with a birdie to keep his advantage. Sunday was off to a flyer as Rose and Speith exchanged birdies but in the end Rose couldn't hold, and bogeys at the sixth and ninth cost the 2013 US Open winner dearly.

Mickelson, Masters winner in 2004, 2006 and 2010, chased Speith and Rose with all he had and at one point closed the gap to the leader to five when he eagled with a bunker shot at the 15th.

Speith however responded with a birdie at the same hole to extend his lead and become the first golfer in Masters history to reach 19 under par. The Texan would have set a new course record had he held par on the 18th but could only manage a bogey.

Pairing

McIlroy began the fourth and final round paired with former world number one Woods, to set up a blockbuster final 18 holes. Both were tied in fifth, 10 strikes behind the lead, so neither had a chance of taking the lead unless Speith completely capitulated.

Woods had a tough moment on the ninth as he hit a hidden tree root under the pines with his club, prompting him to scream out in pain and grab hold of his hand. He recovered though and managed an eagle at the 13th.

The form of Speith and slow start from McIlroy meant that the Irishman never looked like challenging for the title and his third consecutive major win. Britons Ian Poulter and Paul Casey put in fantastic efforts over the weekend to finish tied for sixth with Dustin Johnson on nine under.

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Topics:
Golf
Phil Mickleson
Tiger Woods
Rory McIlroy
US Masters

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