Willett wins Masters after stunning Spieth meltdown
AUGUSTA – Englishman Danny Willett took advantage of a shocking back-nine meltdown by defending champion and runaway leader Jordan Spieth to win his first major title by three shots at the Masters on Sunday.
Three strokes behind the pacesetting Spieth going into the final round at Augusta National, an ice-cool Willett closed with a five-under-par 67 to end a 17-year title drought by European golfers at the year’s opening major.
Willett, a four-times winner on the European Tour competing in his second Masters, birdied three of the last six holes to cap off a bogey-free display in sun-bathed but cool conditions and post a five-under total of 283.
He became only the second Englishman to win the coveted Green Jacket, following three-times champion Nick Faldo, and ended a barren title run by Europeans dating back to Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal’s second victory here in 1999.
“It’s been crazy,” Willett, 28, said before being helped into the coveted Green Jacket by last year’s champion, Spieth. “You can’t really describe the emotions and feelings.
“We all go out there and try and play good golf and at the end of the day someone’s got to win the golf tournament. Fortunately enough, today was my day,” added 2007 English Amateur champion Willett, who is the son of a vicar.
“It was tough. Every time we seemed to make ground, Jordan kept pulling ahead. And we were just trying to dig in and dig in … trying to make birdies and birdies. It was just a very surreal day when you look back at the ebb and flows.”
Willett’s participation at this year’s Masters had been in doubt last month with his wife scheduled to give birth on Sunday, but their baby boy Zachariah arrived 12 days ago. -Reuters