AUGUSTA (AFP) — Fending off epic challenges from three top rivals in a dramatic Masters final round, Patrick Reed captured his first major title Sunday, grinding out a one-shot victory at Augusta National.
The 27-year-old US Ryder Cup firebrand showed the same grit he displays in match-play battles, dispatching Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy in an emotional battle that had spectators roaring.
“Today was probably the hardest mentally a round of golf can possibly be,” Reed said. “I knew it was going to be a dogfight.”
Reed, whose breakthrough came in his 17th major start, fired a 1-under par 71 to finish 72 holes on 15-under 273, one stroke ahead of Fowler with Spieth third on 275 and Spain’s Jon Rahm fourth on 276.
“Having to shoot under par in the final round to win my first major, it was awesome,” Reed said. “It was really satisfying.”
In addition to the iconic winner’s green jacket, Reed pocketed $1.98 million from an $11 million purse.
Reigning British Open champion Spieth, the 2015 Masters champion and twice a runner-up, matched the low final-round in Augusta National history with a 64, a closing bogey thwarting his bid for the biggest comeback to win in Masters history.
Fowler, still seeking his first major win, birdied six of the last 11 holes. He sank a 7-foot birdie putt on 18 to pull within one and keep Reed under pressure to the 72nd hole.
Needing a two-putt par from 25 feet at 18 to win, Reed gently tapped the first putt and saw it race four feet past the cup. He sank the comeback effort and pumped his fist in celebration.
“To have to two-putt the last hole to win my first major, it definitely felt right,’’ Reed said. ‘’I was glad to end the drought.”