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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Willet takes home the green jacket at this year’s Masters

As he approached the back nine on Sunday at the Masters Tournament with a five-shot-lead at 7-under-par, it appeared Jordan Spieth had all but wrapped up his second straight green jacket and his third career major.

Accomplishing this feat would have made Spieth the youngest golfer to ever do so, putting his name with the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods, who are the only golfers in history to become back-to-back Masters champions.

But even the game’s elite can become victim to Augusta National.

Opening up the back nine with bogeys on the 10th and 11th holes, Spieth stepped up to the par-3 12th to begin his Sunday trek through legendary Amen’s Corner, where he now stood at five-under-par.

His once five-shot-lead had dwindled to one, as in front of him Englishman Danny Willet had posted back-to-back birdies at the 13th and 14th holes to get to 4-under-par.

Spieth took his shot only to see his ball fading to the right of the green.

It is short.

The ball hits the front slope of the 12th to find itself in the water hazard in front of the green. After posting back-to-back bogeys, it was just about the worst thing Spieth could do from a momentum standpoint.

Or so everyone watching thought.

On Spieth’s shot following the penalty stroke, he hit it fat, straight back into the hazard.

After once again taking his penalty drop, Spieth put the next shot into the green’s back bunker. From there he proceeded to card a quadruple bogey.

It was an unbelievable implosion, one that even Spieth acknowledged following the hole.

“Buddy, it seems we’re collapsing,” said Spieth to his caddy Mike Greller.

Spieth dropped to 1-under-par following the hole, vaulting Willett to the top of the leaderboard where he would never look back.

Willett closed out his last four holes with three pars and a birdie to get to the clubhouse at five-under-par, which would eventually be good enough to win.

While many will argue Spieth basically gave away this year’s green jacket, Willet most certainly earned it by shooting a final round 67. Putting together this final round put him in great position to capitalize on the mistakes that Spieth made.

“You dream about these kind of days and things like that, but for them to happen, … it’s still mind-boggling,” said Willett. “We talk about fate, talk about everything else that goes with it.”

It’s just a crazy, crazy week.”

Willett was not even sure if he was going to play in this year’s Masters as his son was due to be born on April 10, but his son was born two weeks early, making these past couple of weeks even more special.

“It’s not been a bad last 12 days,” said Willett. “Yeah, words can’t describe the feelings of what’s going on and what we’ve just accomplished.”

Of course on the other end of the spectrum, the look on Spieth’s face was one of almost disbelief as he was being interviewed after his round, and as the Masters tradition as returning champion, he put the green jacket on Willett.

“(On the) big picture, this one will hurt,” said Spieth.

But while this Masters collapse may be compared to those infamous ones of Greg Norman or Rory McIlroy at Augusta, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Spieth can overcome it. Even the great Jack Nicklaus tweeted out some words to encouragement to Spieth.

“I think the whole golfing world feels for Jordan Spieth,” wrote the 18-time major winner and 19-time major runner up. “He had a chance to do something truly special and something very few have done before — and be the youngest to accomplish that — and he just didn’t pull through.

“My heart goes out to him for what happened, but I know that Jordan is a young man who will certainly learn from this experience and there will be some good that comes out of this for him. He’s a wonderful talent and a wonderful young man.”

So whether or not those who watched on Sunday will remember this day for Spieth’s collapse or for Willett’s brilliant play, it is certainly another tale that will go down in golf lore.

It is another chapter in what is the “tradition unlike any other.”

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Reese Setzer, Sports Editor

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