Patrick Reed withstood Sunday nerves, the sustained challenge of Rickie Fowler and a scintillating Jordan Spieth attack to claim the 2018 Masters at Augusta National.
On a rollercoaster final day the 27-year-old failed to become the first golfer in Masters history to post four rounds in the 60s, but it was a minor quibble as laps of 69-66-67-71 gave him a one shot victory over Fowler on 15-under 273.
"I knew it was going to be tough," he said after slipping his arms inside the Green Jacket.
One of my huge goals this year was to get back in that winning circle. To do it in the first major and finish off that drought, it just means so much to me.Patrick Reed
"Any time trying to close off a golf tournament is really hard. I knew that the lead was going to shrink at some times, I knew the lead could grow, it's just the flows of golf."
The expected threat of his Sunday playing partner Rory McIlroy fizzled out on the front nine. The Northern Irishman hit a sublime approach to the par-5 second but missed the shot eagle attempt and struggled thereafter.
Meanwhile Jordan Spieth was blitzing the course with nine birdies that left him on the brink of a 62 and setting a target which would rattle Reed. Alas, he made bogey at the 72nd hole for a 64 to finish alone in third.
Fowler was a more measured pursuer, making birdie at six of the last 11 holes which forced Reed to par the 18th to clinch his triumph.
"It was tough out there," said Reed. "You just have to know how to handle it and the only way I felt like I could get that done was to make sure the putter was working.
"Just to make the par on the last and watch the ball go in the hole and know that I've won my first major is massive. One of my huge goals this year was to get back in that winning circle. To do it in the first major and finish off that drought, it just means so much to me."
"I was ready to go win," said Fowler, for whom this was an eighth top five finish in the majors.
"Unfortunately I was one shot short, but we were able to keep P-Reed honest out there, at least making him earn it."
Spieth had not looked at the leaderboard all day. "I almost pulled off the impossible," he said afterwards. "I did everything right."
Reed is 33/1 to win the next major championship of the year, June's US Open at Shinnecock Hills. Fowler is 18/1 to win it and Spieth 14/1.
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