A year ago Danny Willett was looking up at champion Jordan Spieth all the way down in 38th place on the Masters leaderboard.
After Sunday’s final round at Augusta National, it’s Willett looking down at Spieth.
The 28-year-old Englishman dethroned Spieth to claim his first major and Masters with a 5-under 67, upending Spieth’s attempt to claim consecutive green jackets in the process. Spieth melted down at the start of the back nine and shot a 1-over 73 in the final round, nixing his tournament-high 22 birdies.
Willett began the day in fifth place, but totaled five birdies and was mistake free, making up for his four bogeys in the third round. And Willett led the way for his country, with fellow Englishman Lee Westwood tying Spieth for second place at 2-under and Paul Casey knotted with Americans J.B. Holmes and Dustin Johnson for fourth.
Willett’s best finish in any other major was his sixth place showing at the British Open last year, and he had only four professional victories under his belt before helping his country regain some glory in the process. No English player had won the Masters since Nick Faldo in 1996.
However, many will remember this year’s tournament for how Spieth crumbled after leading for seven straight rounds at Augusta dating back to last year.
The 22-year-old held a one stroke leading heading into the final round, and the weather was supposed to be in his favor unlike every other round leading up to the final.
But Spieth fell apart at the start of the back nine, bogeying No. 10 and No. 11 and following up with a quadruple bogey 7 at No. 12 when two balls went into the water.
Spieth was still within striking distance after birdieing on No. 13 and No. 15, but he missed a shot at another birdie on the par-3 No. 16 by a sailing a short putt too long and followed up with a bogey on the next hole.
Powerful, gusty winds, coupled with some new devilish pin positions conjured up by Augusta made this year’s tournament one of the most difficult in history, but Willett overcame the elements and the course to total 13 birdies.
Largely because of the weather and changes to the course, only six players managed to shoot under par for the entire tournament, compared to 32 last year.
Here's Willett the moment he realizes he's won the Masters.
— Chris Clark (@Cdclarksports) April 10, 2016