Jordan Spieth
USA Today Sports Images
At 21 years and 8 months old, Jordan Spieth became the second-youngest champion in Masters history on Sunday.
 
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Jordan Spieth tapped in his final putt to cap off a record performance and bent over in relief. He just as easily could have been taking a bow. 
 
This was a Masters for the ages. 
 
Not since Tiger Woods in 1997 has a 21-year-old faced so little stress while making a mockery of par in a major. Not since Raymond Floyd in 1976 has anyone withstood the pressure of leading for all four rounds at Augusta National. 
Only one other Masters champion – Craig Wood in 1941 – has never let anyone closer to him than three shots the entire way. 
 
Spieth took his place among the best in the game Sunday when he closed with a 2-under 70 for a four-shot victory over Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose, becoming the second-youngest champion behind Woods to wear a green jacket. 
 
"This was arguably the greatest day of my life," Spieth said. "To join Masters history and put my name on that trophy and to have this jacket forever, it's something that I can't fathom right now." 
 
He left everyone else dazed, too. 
 
Spieth missed a 5-foot par putt on the final hole that only kept him from breaking another record this week at the Masters. He tied the 72-hole scoring mark that Woods set at 18-under 270. 
 
It was still enough to beat Mickelson (69) and Rose (70) by four shots. 
 
"Playing with Jordan, he's going to sort of fly the flag for golf for quite a while," Rose said. "People were getting excited about that out there. You could tell." 
 
There were standing ovations all the way around to celebrate the latest star in golf, the next addition to a new generation just as Woods and Mickelson are approaching the back nines of their careers. 
 
Rory McIlroy is still No. 1 in the world by a reasonable margin. Spieth is now No. 2. It's the first time players 25 or younger have been Nos. 1-2 in the world. 
 
 
"He's got four majors. That's something I can still only dream about," Spieth said. "I don't know, as far as a rivalry right now." 
 
For all the hype about the Grand Slam bid by McIlroy and the return of Woods, this week was about the arrival of another star. 
 
"It's awfully impressive," McIlroy said after closing with a 66 to finish fourth. "It's nice to get your major tally up and running at an early stage in your career. It's great to see, great for the game, and I'm sure there will be many more." 
 
Woods jarred his right wrist when he struck wood under the pine straw on the ninth hole. He didn't hit a fairway on the front nine and never was in the game, closing with a 73 to finish 13 shots behind. 
 
Mickelson tried to make a run. So did Rose. 
 
Lefty holed a bunker shot for eagle on the par-5 15th, but he couldn't make a birdie the rest of the way. Rose got to within three shots of Spieth on three occasions on the front nine, and Spieth kept his nerve. He picked up two shots on Rose on Nos. 8 and 9 – the same spot where the Masters got away from Spieth last year. 
 
"I thought today might be easier having played with the lead on Saturday. It wasn't," Spieth said. "It's the most incredible week of my life. This is as great as it gets in our sport. ... I'm still kind of shock a little bit." 
 
And he will keep the editors of the Masters record book busy. Among the marks he established this week: 
 
-- The 36-hole record at 14-under 130. 
-- The 54-hole record at 16-under 200.  
-- The most birdies for the tournament at 28.  
-- The lowest opening round by a champion at 64. 
 
 
"He has no weaknesses," Mickelson said. "He doesn't overpower the golf course, but he plays the course strategically well. He plays all the shots properly. And he has that ability to focus and see things clear when the pressure is on and perform at his best when the pressure is on. 
 
"That's something that you really can't teach," he said. "Some players are able to do it, some players aren't. And he is." 
 
Spieth was reminded of how far he has come, and how quickly, when he stood on the first tee with a four-shot lead and history in his hands. His caddie, Michael Greller, reminded him that the Texas golf team was playing a match in California. This would be Spieth's senior year. 
 
"He said, 'Face it: Aren't you glad you're here instead of there?'" Spieth said with a smile. 
 
It was a light moment in an arena of high pressure. Rose promptly knocked in a 10-foot birdie putt, and Spieth followed him with a birdie. It was like that all week.  
 
Spieth rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 10 for a six-shot lead. It was his 26th birdie of the Masters, breaking the tournament record that Mickelson set in 2001. The next target was the 72-hole scoring record that Woods set in 1997, and he almost got there except for that bogey at the end. 
 
He twice went for the green on par 5s on the back nine, barely clearing the creek at No. 13 and going just over the back on No. 15, both times making birdie. The birdie on the 15th made him the only player in Masters history to reach 19-under par at any point. 
 
None of that mattered. Spieth had the green jacket. 
 
"This was the ultimate goal in my golf life," he said.
 
And he might just be getting started. 
 

Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

This article was written by Doug Ferguson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

 
Jordan Spieth wins 2015 Masters Tournament with record-tying score
April 12, 2015 - 3:10pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Hunter Mahan
@TheMasters on Twitter
From a tough spot from behind the par-3 fourth hole, Hunter Mahan showed masterful touch, holing a chip for an unlikely birdie.

The final round of the Masters always promises drama.

We haven't had to wait long for it on this Masters Sunday. We showed you the Jimmy Walker bunker hole-out earlier, a magnificent approach from Bubba Watson to set up a short eagle and now there's this from Hunter Mahan:

 

The video doesn't do much justice to just how slick that pitch actually is from behind the par-3 fourth hole.

RELATED: Masters leaderboard | Photos | Video | Course tour

Mahan, with perfect touch, got it to drop for an unlikely birdie.

The birdie put Mahan to 2 under for the day, but he went on to bogey the next two holes. 

Slick chip-in for Hunter Mahan at par-3 fourth hole
April 12, 2015 - 2:01pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Bubba Watson
@TheMasters on Twitter
Eagles aren't easy to come by -- unless you hit approach shots into par 5s like this one by Bubba Watson on the second hole at Augusta National on Sunday.

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson won't be successfully defending his title this year, but he will pick up a pair of crystal goblets, thanks to this eagle on the par-5 second hole in the final round on Sunday.

 

Remarkable approach for Watson who bounced back from a bogey at the first hole.

RELATED: Masters leaderboard | Walker's bunker hole-out | Photos

That was the first eagle of the final round on the second hole and the seventh for the week.

Believe it or not, the seven eagles on No. 2 thus far isn't even close to the most this week. That belongs to the par-5 13th hole, which has seen 12 eagles and counting

Watson's approach on No. 2 sets up short eagle putt
April 12, 2015 - 12:23pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Jimmy Walker
@TheMasters on Twitter
On the par-3 fourth hole at Augusta National on Sunday, Jimmy Walker hit what will surely be one of the most memorable shots of the 2015 Masters.

Jimmy Walker was a pre-tournament favorite coming into this Masters.

He's not going to win -- he started the final round 16 shots behind 54-hole leader Jordan Spieth -- but it looks early on like he's going to do everything he can to make the best out of his final round.

RELATED: Masters leaderboard | Spieth sets 54-hole scoring record | Photos

Yet to record a sub-par round this week, Walker was 3 under through four holes on Sunday, thanks to shots like this one that led to a birdie on the par-3 fourth hole.

 

Are you serious, Jimmy? Did you see where that ball landed before it ended up in the hole?

Remarkable shot. 

Walker may have hit the signature shot of this Masters
April 11, 2015 - 8:06pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Phil Mickelson
USA Today Sports Images
Phil Mickelson hasn't been in contention much lately, but his game always seems to show up at the majors.

Saturday was Moving Day at the Masters. And it sure didn't disappoint.

Here's a look at five surprises during the third round at Augusta National.

5. Ian Poulter's 5-under 67
Why?:
Talk about a score that came out of nowhere. One day removed from a round of even-par 72 -- one that included a crushing 34 putts -- Poulter bounced back with a 5-under 67 on Saturday that tied for low-round of the day honors.

If anything, that score should tell us this: the putts finally started to fall for Poulter.

The 67 was Poulter's lowest ever score in the Masters and has him sharing 12th place with 18 holes to play. It was just the sixth round in the 60s in his 11 Masters starts.

Overall, it was a fantastic bounce back for Poulter.

RELATED: Masters leaderboard | Photos | Hoffman's eagle hole-out

4. Tiger's hot start
Why?:
For many, it was impressive that Tiger Woods simply made the cut this week after two months away from competitive golf and an injury-plagued 2014.

That wasn't enough for Woods, however. He showed flashes of his old self early in the third round with an impressive 4-under 32 on the front nine helped by three consecutive birdies, ending with a near-ace on the par-3 fourth hole where his tee shot settled just 10 inches from the hole.

Two bogeys canceled out two birdies on the inward nine and Woods wound up with a 4-under 68 to make it two consecutive rounds in the 60s at Augusta National.

The last time Woods accomplished that was in 2005 -- his last Masters win.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves though. Woods has a mountain to climb on Sunday. He'll begin the round tied for fifth at 6 under, trailing 54-hole leader Jordan Spieth by 10 shots.

Nevertheless, it will be fun to watch. Woods is paired with world No. 1 Rory McIlroy on Sunday.

We're never again likely to see the Tiger Woods who dominated the late 1990s and early 2000s, but Saturday's effort was a step in the right direction in terms of finding a game that is at least competitive.

MORE: Complete Masters coverage | Videos | Course tour | Past winners

3. Phil Mickelson within striking distance after 67
Why?:
A third-round, 5-under 67 is an excellent score, but Mickelson will no doubt be kicking himself Saturday night over a missed opportunity.

That missed opportunity was his failure to make par on the 17th hole. A par would have earned Mickelson a spot in Sunday's final twosome alongside Spieth and he would have been just four shots behind the 21-year-old.

Instead, Mickelson will be in the penultimate group, five shots behind Spieth at 11 under.

Regardless, this has been a spectacular week for Mickelson. The once dominate player -- week-in and week-out -- hasn't finished better than a T17 this season. And his best finish over the last two seasons was runner up at the 2014 PGA Championship -- his lone top 10 over that stretch.

The majors bring out the best in Mickelson... especially this one. He'll be firing at the pins no matter where they're tucked on Sunday.

2. Justin Rose finishes with fireworks
Why?:
Like Mickelson and Woods before him on this list, it hasn't been a spectacular season to this point for the 2013 U.S. Open champion.

At points on Saturday, it very much looked as though Rose was just one of those players hoping for a chance to finish second on Sunday. But then something special happened as it often does at Augusta National.

Beginning on the par-5 13th hole, Rose managed to birdie five of his last six holes, including a holed bunker shot on No. 16, and punctuated the round by a curling birdie putt on the 18th to fire a 5-under 67.

That put Rose at 12 under for the tournament, four behind Spieth and earned him a spot in Sunday's final pairing.

A comeback win may not be likely given the way Spieth has played, but Rose has at least put himself in a position to have a chance if he can put together one more special round on Sunday.

Rose came from two behind in the final round when he won the U.S. Open.

1. Spieth sets 54-hole scoring record
Why?:
Spieth is just a record-setting machine this week.

One day removed from setting the 36-hole Masters scoring record of 14-under 130, Spieth added the 54-hole record on Saturday with a 2-under 70 that moved him to 16-under 200.

On Sunday, he'll look to chase down the 72-hole scoring record of 18-under 270, set by a 21-year-old Tiger Woods in 1997.

Spieth will also be looking to join the foursome of Craig Wood (1941), Arnold Palmer (1960), Jack Nicklaus (1972) and Raymond Floyd (1976) as the only players who have won the Masters from start to finish.

As we've said all week -- Spieth's play and the fact that he leads isn't surprising. Instead, it's the manner in which he has played and has led. Aside from that double-bogey hiccup on No. 17 Saturday, he has been absolutely dominant.

Any player would love to win the Masters. But if this is to be Spieth's first major win, in this fashion, with the names Rose, Mickelson, McIlroy, Woods and Johnson all currently among the top 10?

How special would that be? 

Top 5 surprises from Round 3
April 11, 2015 - 2:34pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tiger Woods
USA Today Sports Images
Tiger Woods is off to a fantastic start in the third round of the Masters.

For many, Tiger Woods just making the cut at Augusta National this week would have been reason enough to think things are headed in the right direction for the 14-time major winner.

But, that probably wasn't going to be enough to satisfy Woods.

RELATED: Masters leaderboard | Spieth's 36-hole record | Masters photos

Early in his third round at the Masters on Saturday, Woods was off to a red-hot start.

After a par at the first hole, Woods rolled off three consecutive birdies, including this one -- a near ace -- at the par-3 fourth hole:

 

The fourth has played as the second most difficult hole through 36 holes at the Masters this week.

With the birdie, Woods moved to 5 under for the tournament and was tied for seventh at the time of this posting.

Woods off to hot start on Moving Day