Jordan Spieth is just 21 years old. If he were still at the University of Texas, where he left school after his freshman year to turn pro, he wouldn’t even be graduating for another month. Instead, on Sunday, he became the second youngest Masters champion in tournament history, smashing all sorts of tournament records and cruising to a four shot lead.
“It’s an honor to join those names that have been on the trophy before,” said Spieth. “All in all, just very, very happy with the day today.”
Spieth went out on Thursday and shot an 8-under 64 on Thursday and never looked back. He would go on to shoot a 66 on Friday and a couple 70s on the weekend but his lead never shrunk below three shots.
All the while, Spieth looked like a trained assassin walking around Augusta. He resembled someone who had been playing there for 20 years, not a “kid” who was competing in just his second Masters tournament.
He drained lengthy putts like a young Ben Crenshaw, hit flop shots like only Phil Mickelson could, and would have made Ben Hogan smile the way he yelled at his ball and played Jedi mind tricks on it all week to do what he wanted, none better than his second shot on the par-5 13th on Sunday when he yelled “Go, go, go hard, go,” from 204 yards out. The ball would barely clear Rae’s Creek and come to a rest 14 feet from the hole. It was that shot that you could look back on as the dagger that truly ended it all.
It could have been easy for Spieth to come out and have a bad week this week. He had played a grueling stretch of golf leading up to Augusta with wins at the Valspar Championship in Tampa and runner up finishes the last two weeks in the Texas Swing events, including a playoff loss at the Shell Houston Open. There was also the scar tissue of having held the lead at the Masters on Sunday last year before a surge from Bubba Watson saw him putting on the Green Jacket for the second time in three years instead of at that time the 20 year old.
He let none of that phase him all week as he just stayed laser focused on what was ahead of him.
“I was already hungry from last year having already had an opportunity and watched it slip away and watched Bubba win and everything that came with Bubba being the Masters champion,” he said. “That definitely left me hungry.”
Spieth’s dominating win seemed to break a trend that Augusta National had become a bombers paradise. He’s not the longest hitter off the tee and isn’t overly accurate with the driver either. Instead he relied on his short game and once again his putting to re-write the record books at Augusta.
Spieth set the record for best 36 and 54 hole scores at 14-under after 36 and 16-under after 54 holes. His 72 hole score of 18-under is matched only by Tiger Woods’ 18-under winning score in 1997. Spieth also became the only golfer in Masters history to get to 19-under par at any point in the tournament when he birdied the par-5 15th. A bogey on 18 would drop him back to 18-under. His 28 birdies for the four days is also a new record, topping Phil Mickelson’s 25 birdies in his win in 2010. He also joins Walter Hagan as only the second man in over 100 years to go wire-to-wire at the age of 21 or younger and is the first wire-to-wire Masters winner since Ray Floyd pulled off the feat in 1976.
Spieth moves to number two in the Official World Golf Rankings, held off a leader board on Sunday that had a combined 10 major championship (not counting Tiger and his 14 as he fell off the leader board early), and now has his own major championship. Don’t expect him to get complacent or start coasting anytime soon though. He still has his eye on on thing in particular.
“The ultimate goal, that I’ve mentioned each week, is to become the number one player in the world,” said Spieth. “I’m not quite there yet.”
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