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The final leaderboard for the first major of the year, the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, is in. 28-year-old Danny Willett overcame a three-shot deficit beginning the final round to win by 3 strokes over runners-up Jordan Spieth (who went bogey-bogey-quad starting the back nine) and Lee Westwood. It’s Willett’s first major and first PGA Tour win and it moves him into the top 10 in the OWGR. Below is the truncated top-10 leaderboard:
(1) Danny Willett (-5)
(T2) Lee Westwood (-2)
(T2) Jordan Spieth (-2)
(T4) Paul Casey (-1)
(T4) J.B. Holmes (-1)
(T4) Dustin Johnson (-1)
(T7) Matthew Fitzpatrick (E)
(T7) Soren Kjeldsen (E)
(T7) Hideki Matsuyama (E)
(T10) Justin Rose (+1)
(T10) Daniel Berger (+1)
(T10) Rory McIlroy (+1)
(T10) Brandt Snedeker (+1)
(T10) Jason Day (+1)
Here are my thoughts and a few statistics on the champion and some notable golfers near the top of the leaderboard:
Winner: Danny Willett (-5) – This is Willett’s first PGA Tour win and first major championship, and with it he becomes the second Englishman to ever win the Masters after Nick Faldo. He also earns a lifetime invitation to future Masters Tournaments. His wife Nicole gave birth to their first child 10 days ago; had it not happened early Willett would not have played this week. In his last four starts at the WGC-Dell Match Play, Valspar, WGC-Cadillac Championship and WGC-HSBC Champions he finished T28, T22, T3 and T3 respectively — given these statistics it’s apparent that he has tended to do well in “bigger” tournaments lately, WGCs in this case. His only prior start at the Masters last year in 2015 yielded a T38 finish — hardly any experience playing at Augusta but was nonetheless able to deliver. Although he has no other PGA Tour wins, he has several (4 excluding this week) wins on the European Tour including the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February.
Today: 5 birdies for a bogey-free 5-under 67. His back-to-back birdies on 13 and 14 combined with Spieth’s implosion on 12 were key to him coming out on top in the end. An outstanding up-and-down from a tricky spot off the 17th green also helped preserve his momentum, and while his putt on the 18th green was a little weak, it turned out not to be important for the win. Scores in regulation: 70, 74, 72, 67 (283).
To my gorgeous wife @Nicolewillett88 and zach!!! Still can’t believe what has happened!!! Masters champion 2016!!! Wow!! ??????????
— Danny Willett (@Danny_Willett) April 11, 2016
Jordan Spieth (-2) – This would have been Spieth’s second consecutive Masters win, eighth PGA Tour win and third major championship win; he would have been by far the youngest player to ever win two Masters. Even without the win, however, he finishes in the top 5 for the fifth straight time in a major, which is a remarkable achievement rivaling the likes of Tiger and Jack. Spieth’s previous finishes at the Masters were a T2 in 2014 (behind winner Bubba Watson) and an outright win last year — an incredible streak of performance. He notched top-20 finishes in his four previous starts at the Shell, Valspar and WGC events. His last win remains the Hyundai Tournament of Champions held in January.
Today: 7 birdies, 4 bogeys and a quadruple-bogey for a 1-over 73. After at one point reaching 7-under and leading by five strokes, he went 6-over in three holes (2 bogeys and a quad) to fall three strokes short of new leader Danny Willett. He then put up a good fight to get back into contention, making birdies on 13 and 15 and putting himself in position for another on the par-3 16th. Unfortunately for him, he missed his birdie on 16 and failed to get up and down for par on 17, falling back to 2-under with Lee Westwood. Scores in regulation: 66, 74, 73, 73 (286).
This was a great Masters with a lot of big names in contention in addition to many lesser-known players. I will say that the fast leaderboard shuffle near the end of the day after Spieth’s quad on 12 really made the tournament a lot more exciting. On to the U.S. Open at Oakmont!