Spieth wins Masters by four shots

Jordan Spieth has cemented his place as the next big thing in golf, becoming the second-youngest Masters champion in history after dominating the field by going wire-to-wire to win by four shots.

Invoking memories of Tiger Woods’ breakout performance in 1997, the 21-year-old Texan will jump to world No.2 behind only Rory McIlroy after shooting a final round two-under-70 to win at 18-under-270.

Former US Open champion Justin Rose (70) tied for second with five-times major champion Phil Mickelson (69).

A birdie on the 15th hole sent Spieth to 19-under, the first time the score has been reached in Masters history, but he dropped back a shot on the 18th and tied Woods’ tournament record set in his first win in 1997 when he was just a few months younger.

He broke the 54-hole tournament record shared by Woods (1997) and Floyd (1976) on Saturday, having set a 36-hole record a day earlier.

Spieth, the Australian Open champion, showed composure way beyond his years becoming only the fifth wire-to-wire winner in Masters history, joining Craig Wood in 1941, Arnold Palmer in 1960, Jack Nicklaus in 1972 and Raymond Floyd in 1976.

Rose got within three shots a few times on the front nine while Mickelson was within four on the front nine, but neither could make further inroads.

Spieth’s 28 birdies eclipsed the most in a single Masters tournament, taking over from Mickelson’s 25 in 2001 and came just a year after finishing as runner-up to Bubba Watson on debut.

Likely to return to The Australian in Sydney in November to defend the Stonehaven Cup, Spieth joins an extremely impressive list of players who have won the Australian Open and a green jacket, joining Adam Scott, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Gene Sarazen.

McIlroy closed with a 66 to finish at 12-under in fourth as he chased the career grand slam.

He was one clear of 23-year-old Japanese young gun Hideki Matsuyama who also shot 66.

Tiger Woods could only muster a 73 on Sunday, leaving the 14-time major winner at five under and in a tie for 17th.

Meanwhile Australia had its worst Masters performance since 2001, with Jason Day leading the way at one-under-287 in a tie for 28th.

Day dropped a disappointing 75 on Sunday but still bested 2013 champion Adam Scott who posted a 74 to finish one-over, thanks mainly to a quadruple-bogey seven on the picturesque par-three 12th when he found water twice.

“Overall a pretty disappointing week, really,” Day said.

“I feel like I’ve been working really hard in the gym, doing the right things with my body, coming in early, working hard, especially around the greens so to come in and have a disappointing finish like this is, it sucks, but obviously this means that I need to work harder.”

John Senden (72) joined Scott in 38th while Geoff Ogilvy closed with a 74 to be three-over and 48th.

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