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Patrick Reed Holds Off Rickie Fowler to Capture 1st Masters Championship

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2018

Patrick Reed hits on the fourth tee during the fourth round at the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Chris Carlson/Associated Press

Not even a nearly historic charge from Jordan Spieth was enough to beat Patrick Reed at the 2018 Masters.

Reed won his first career major and first green jacket Sunday by shooting a one-under 71 in the final round at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, to bring his tournament-best total to 15 under.

The 27-year-old entered play Sunday with a three-stroke lead over playing partner Rory McIlroy, but it was Spieth who came charging back from nine strokes behind with a blistering performance to pull even atop the leaderboard heading into the final stretch. According to CBS' broadcast, Spieth was attempting to break the record of eight strokes for the largest final-round comeback in Masters history.

However, a birdie on No. 14 gave Reed the outright lead again, and Spieth's bogey to finish his eight-under round ended his incredible comeback effort at 13 under for the tournament.

It wasn't just Spieth who challenged Reed, as Rickie Fowler was also impressive Sunday with a five-under 67 to finish in second place at 14 under. Fowler's birdie on No. 18 forced Reed into a position where he needed a par or better to close his round, and he delivered with the biggest par of his life.

Masters Tournament @TheMasters

The clinching putt. Congratulations to @PReedGolf, 2018 #themasters Champion. https://t.co/zEkWleSeRK

Here is a look at Reed, Fowler, Spieth and the rest of the top-10 finishers. The full leaderboard can be found at PGATour.com, and Bleacher Report's live blog for Sunday's action can be found here.

1. Patrick Reed, -15

2. Rickie Fowler, -14

3. Jordan Spieth, -13

4. Jon Rahm, -11

T5. Cameron Smith, -9

T5. Bubba Watson, -9

T5. Henrik Stenson, -9

T5. Rory McIlroy, -9

9. Marc Leishman, -8

T10. Tony Finau, -7

T10. Dustin Johnson, -7

         

While the final round developed into a Spieth and Reed battle, the stage was set for a showdown between Reed and McIlroy, who famously squared off in the 2016 Ryder Cup.

Reed prevailed then as he did Sunday, and Bob Harig of ESPN.com noted McIlroy still hasn't come from behind for any of his four major wins:

Bob Harig @BobHarig

Rory, trying to complete career Grand Slam, did not come from behind in any of his previous four major victories: 2011 U.S. Open, 2012 PGA, 2014 Open, 2014 PGA. #TheMasters

McIlroy was attempting to join some of the sport's most iconic names in Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen as the only ones to win the career grand slam, but the green jacket remained elusive again thanks to troubles with the putter on his way to a two-over 74.

It appeared as if he was going to make quick work of a comeback when he gained two strokes on Reed in the first two holes, but he failed to send a significant message with a missed eagle putt on No. 2. He continued leaving strokes on the green with missed birdie opportunities and par saves, and the strokes added up and opened the door for Spieth.

SI Golf @SI_Golf

Rory trying to make a putt today https://t.co/AMVXWMYUeq

Spieth's ascent up the leaderboard put plenty of pressure on Reed considering the University of Texas product has known nothing but success at the Masters in his career.

He notched a win, two second-place ties and an 11th place in his first four starts at Augusta and added to the list of success Sunday with nine birdies. He wasted little time making an impact with birdies on the first two holes, and he even birdied the 12th—which features a water hazard that has haunted him in past Masters.

By the time Spieth smoked his second shot on the 13th off the pine straw and onto the green to set up a birdie, it was clear he had Reed in his sights.

CBS Sports @CBSSports

"YES!" Jordan Spieth has come all the way back! He is now tied with Patrick Reed. #themasters https://t.co/YpXPmTqhlW

Back-to-back birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 pulled Spieth even, but Reed was like a boxer waiting out the blows before he unleashed some of his own with birdies on 12 and 14 to seize the lead for good.

He had enough of a cushion that steady play was all he needed to clinch the green jacket. Reed had four birdies to three bogeys and finished with four straight pars to cement his place as the victor.

Fowler is still without a major despite lurking for much of the afternoon while Spieth and Reed drew the galleries and Sunday roars. He made his own charge with birdies on 12, 13, 15 and 18 to close the gap to just one.

It wasn't just the contenders who turned heads Sunday, as Charley Hoffman tallied the first hole-in-one of the 2018 Masters on the 16th hole:

Masters Tournament @TheMasters

.@hoffman_charley aces No. 16 for the first hole-in-one of the Tournament. #themasters https://t.co/xezbJ0cslf

Elsewhere, Tony Finau posted six straight birdies on Nos. 12-17 after he suffered a gruesome ankle injury and had to pop it back in place Wednesday. Not only did he play after the physical setback, he finished an incredible seven under par for the tournament.

Even with two birdies on Amen Corner, Finau couldn't match Paul Casey's record-setting showing on holes 11, 12 and 13 on his way to a seven-under 65 Sunday:

Masters Tournament @TheMasters

https://t.co/w6zcIt744e

Woods didn't set any records but still attracted plenty of attention in his comeback from four back surgeries. He couldn't close the gap standing between his 14 major championships and Nicklaus' 18, but he turned in the best round of his 2018 Masters with a three-under 69 to finish the tournament one over.

He showed flashes of the Woods who captured four green jackets in his prime with five birdies and a notable eagle on No. 15:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

EAGLE FOR @TIGERWOODS! #theMasters https://t.co/4aeRhIHotZ

Woods' status as an Augusta legend is secure, and he and the rest of the previous winners welcomed new company Sunday as Reed took home his first career major.

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