Tag: Masters

Masters: Jordan Spieth wins first major with dominant display

Jordan Spieth equalled the lowest winning score in Masters history to cap a record-breaking display at Augusta and win his first major.

The 21-year-old American, second on his debut last year, shot a two-under 70 to triumph on 18 under.

England’s Justin Rose hit 70 to finish 14 under, joint second with three-time champion Phil Mickelson (69) who ended runner-up in a major for the 10th time.

World number one Rory McIlroy finished fourth on 12 under after a 66.

The story going into the Masters had been all about the Northern Irishman’s quest to become just the sixth man to win the Grand Slam of all four of golf’s majors.

But it was Spieth, the new world number two, who dominated the headlines on each day, equalling Tiger Woods’s winning score of 18 under in 1997, when the former world number one won his first Green Jacket.

Spieth also became the second-youngest Masters champion, winning the tournament at the age of 21 years and 259 days, 155 days older than Woods when he recorded his 1997 win.

He also became the first player in 39 years to lead a Masters from start to finish, and the first to shoot 28 birdies at the tournament.

A one-over 73 for Woods meant he finished tied 17th on five under, while 2014 champion Bubba Watson carded a 74 to finish tied for 38th on one over.

Read more at BBC Sport

Masters: Justin Rose cuts Jordan Spieth’s lead

Jordan Spieth will go into the final round of the Masters nursing a four-shot lead over England’s Justin Rose with three-time champion Phil Mickelson heading a charging pack behind.

Rose conjured up five birdies in his last six holes, including a chip-in from the bunker on 16, to finish on 12 under and remain in the hunt for his first Green Jacket.

His hopes of winning might also be buoyed by some uncharacteristic errors by Spieth towards the end of his round. He double-bogeyed the 17th and sliced his approach to the 18th green into the crowd, but recovered his composure to save par.

Spieth’s late wobble sets up an enthralling Sunday afternoon after a low-scoring thriller of a third day saw contenders rise and fall in their pursuit.

The young Texan’s two-under-par 70 left him on 16 under, a new Augusta record after 54 holes, and kept him on track to become the second youngest Masters champion in history behind Tiger Woods.

And Woods’s record score of 18 under, made in his epoch-changing debut win in 1997, is also in danger from a performance that for most of the first three days has borne striking similarities.

But Rose is on his tail after fighting back from a dropped shot on the first and another on the fifth to storm through the back nine, draining a horrible downhill birdie putt from the fringes on the last to go clear in second.

Mickelson’s five-under 67 puts him on 11 under, his six birdies igniting the galleries around the sun-baked course, with Woods and world number one Rory McIlroy both scoring 68s to tie for fifth on six under.

All three piled the pressure on the precocious Spieth until late dropped shots hurt McIlroy and Woods, with Mickelson missing another birdie putt by a fraction on the 18th.

Charley Hoffman, second overnight, remains in contention at 10 under after shooting 71 to add to his 67 and 68 over the first two days.

Not since Ray Floyd in 1976 has a Masters champion led from start to finish, indicative of the way this course can snare and punish even a man in rare form.

The history of the tournament is also littered with the tales of players who blew big final day leads – Greg Norman spurned a six-shot advantage in 1996, McIlroy four in 2011.

Read more at BBC Sport

Masters: Superb Jordan Spieth sets halfway record

Jordan Spieth carded the lowest halfway total in Masters history to take a massive step closer to a first major title at Augusta National on Friday.

Spieth added a second round of 66 to his opening 64 to post a total of 130, one shot better than the previous best set by Ray Floyd in 1976.

That also equalled the 36-hole record in any major shared by Nick Faldo, Brandt Snedeker and Martin Kaymer, and at 14-under is the lowest 36-hole score in relation to par.

Faldo was 12-under on his way to winning the 1992 Open at Muirfield, with Snedeker and Kaymer 10-under at the 2012 Open and 2014 US Open respectively.

Spieth was runner-up here last year and came into the week having finished first, second, and second in his last three events.

“I have been on my game and coming to a place that I love,” Spieth said. “It’s special to be here and just be in the tournament let alone out front.

“I just need to keep my head down, set a goal for myself. It’s definitely going to be more challenging and I am going to have to be aware of that and be okay with a bogey or two.”

At 14-under-par Spieth was five ahead of fellow American Charley Hoffman, who bogeyed the 18th to card a 68, with the likes of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods reduced to the status of also-rans.

Woods was three-under for his round and two-under overall in just his third start of the year, the 14-time major winner having recorded a career-worst 82 in the first and withdrawing through injury after 11 holes of the second.

Woods, 39, who had blamed a poor short game on being caught between two “release patterns”, said: “[I am] very proud of what I’ve done, to be able to dig it out the way I have.

“I was at a pretty low one in my career, but to basically change an entire pattern like that and put it together and put it in a position where I can compete in a major championship like this is something I’m very proud of.”

World No.1 McIlroy was bidding to become the sixth player to complete the career grand slam, but found himself 12 off the pace as he set off and started his second round with a bogey on the first and birdie on the second.

Ernie Els was refusing to give up hope of catching Spieth despite being nine adrift after adding a 72 to his opening 67.

“Jordan is playing unbelievably well and obviously we’re all watching the leaderboard,” Els said. “But we know how far there is to go. Front runners tend to do well here, but there have been some really good comebacks, so it’s a big weekend ahead.

“He’s not thinking about anything right now and that’s a great place to be at. I’d really like to shoot two 67s and see where that leaves me. That’d make me 15-under and that’s about as good as a man can do.

“If it keeps blowing like this and the nerves get going… I don’t want to wish badly on anyone but if he takes his foot off the gas or has a bad break here and there, it really gives you thought of catching him.”

Read more at ESPN

Snooker: Murphy stuns Robertson in Masters final

Shaun Murphy thrashed world No.1 Neil Robertson 10-2 in the final of the Masters at Alexandra Palace to become just the 10th man to win snooker’s triple crown.

Robertson came into the final in imperious form after 6-1 wins over Ali Carter and Ronnie O’Sullivan but found himself 5-0 down as Murphy came firing out of the blocks.

The Australian won two of the next three frames as he threatened a comeback but Murphy held firm to complete the biggest winning margin in a Masters final since Steve Davis’s 9-0 whitewash of Mike Hallett 27 years ago.

“The first time I came to this great event, I would have been 11 or 12 and to finally get the win and the crown is unbelievable,” Murphy told the BBC.

“When I won the World Championship 10 years ago I thought I was going to blitz through these events but I’ve had to wait a long time and go through some ups and downs.

“This time last year I considered going away from snooker a bit but I’ve turned it around. I’ve got some great support, some great friends and family around me, and they all know who they are.”

Murphy won several scrappy frames as he avenged his 10-6 defeat to the same man in the 2012 final, including the first of the evening session, when the Australian was first in with 51.

“I remember a few years ago he nicked a few of those tight frames and they really hurt,” added Murphy. “I had a bit of luck throughout the match but in all I’ve played well this week.”

Murphy recorded two 127 breaks as he added the Masters crown to his World Championship from 2005 and 2008 UK Championship.

“The first session was very tough, being 6-2 down. It was probably a couple of shots that made the difference between being 4-4 and being 6-2 down,” said Robertson.

“Shaun played very well today, he played fantastically all week. I just couldn’t produce the snooker that got me to the final but you have to put a lot of that down to the way Shaun played.

“He was brilliant in all departments and I’d just like to say, welcome to the triple crown club.

“This is our second Masters final and hopefully, the way we’ve both played the last few weeks, we’ll have a few more.”

Murphy quipped in reply: “I’ve got to disagree with Neil, I don’t want to play him ever again! If that’s what it takes to be world No.1, I’ll stay as number 11!”

Murphy now joins Robertson, Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Terry Griffiths, Alex and John Higgins, Mark Williams and Mark Selby in having claimed the World, UK and Masters titles.

Read more at ESPN

Snooker: Robertson thrashes O’Sullivan to reach final

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s Masters defence ended with a whimper as Neil Robertson stormed into the final with a 6-1 victory at the Alexandra Palace.

The world No.1 snapped O’Sullivan’s 15-match wining streak in all competitions and will now face Shaun Murphy in a repeat of the 2012 final after the Englishman beat Mark Allen 6-2.

“Beating Ronnie here is a really special achievement for me,” said Robertson.

“It was an amazing atmosphere. That’s why I wanted to have a crack at him in the World Championship final last year, because he’s the only player who can create that kind of atmosphere.

“If you put pressure on someone in any sport they will make mistakes. You have to keep your foot down, you can’t let them back into the match.”

O’Sullivan was in trouble from the off with Robertson securing the opening frame with a 100 break, before the five-time champion missed a frame-ball black to allow the Australian in for a 2-0 lead.

That lead soon stretched to 3-0 before O’Sullivan made a 101 break in the fourth frame, a record 777th century of his career.

But the world No.1 went 4-1 up with a 58 break before reeling off the final two frames to complete the drubbing as he looks to seal a second Masters triumph.

“Neil played a great game and had me in lots of trouble,” said O’Sullivan. “I missed a lot of balls and made a lot of mistakes. I knew it was coming eventually because I’ve been scraping through matches.

“The last time I played good consistent stuff was here and at the Welsh Open last season. Since then I’ve probably only played two good matches – the rest of the time I’ve just been digging in. Neil played well enough to expose my weaknesses – he took me apart.

“I’m not the player I was 18 months ago, but I think I can get it back by playing in more tournaments. You can’t go missing for five or six frames, as I am doing. I had years of that, and it makes things tough.”

With his victory over Allen in the evening session, Murphy kept alive his hopes of securing a career ‘triple crown’, coming back from 2-0 down to win six frames in a row.

“A lot has been said and written about me needing this to complete the triple crown. As much as you try and ignore it, you can’t,” Murphy told the BBC.

“It does mean so much to have another crack in the final. When Neil plays like he has done this week, he is almost unbeatable. It is my job to try and find a nick somewhere.”

Read more at ESPN