2018 Masters: Living Up to the Hype

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2018 Masters: Living Up to the Hype

The 2018 Masters was full of storylines heading into the first day of the tournament. Phil Mickelson was playing his best golf in years, Rory McIlroy was finally healthy and the Masters field finally had Tiger Woods with a healthy back for the first time in a few years. The field also was filled with the young guys of Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, and world #1 Justin Thomas. It could be argued this was the most anticipated Masters of all time.

Jordan Spieth, who has performed well at Augusta over his career, took the early lead after round 1 by shooting a -6 (66). He had the solo round after the first day by 2 full strokes. Mickelson opened with a respectable -2 (70), tied with Rickie Fowler.

Tiger Woods shot a +1 (73) to open his Masters campaign. Spieth became the clear favorite after all the dust settled after the first round. However, the second round was much different for the 24 year old. He faltered a little bit with a double bogey on the first hole of his second round. Spieth finished +2 for the day and -4 for the tournament.

Patrick Reed made his move on Friday to become the sole leader after the second round with a round of 66. This put him to -9 for the tournament. Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods both stumbled in their second round and barely crawled over the cut line to play the weekend.

Moving day on Saturday lived up to its name. Jon Rahm and Rickie Fowler both shot a -7 (65) to get them to -8 and -9, respectively. Rory did his moving as well with a 65 and got to- 11. However, Patrick Reed extended his lead with -5 (67). He got all the way to -14 after the third round. This was good enough for a 3-stroke lead over Rory.

Sunday looked like it was a two horse race with Rory and Patrick Reed set to square off at the final group. Rickie and Jon Rahm looked to have an outside chance as they were just five and six back. Nobody gave any real chance to anybody other than these guys at the top of the leaderboard.

Sunday at Augusta had a lot of turbulence throughout the day. Jordan Spieth, who was nine back to start the day, jumped out of the gates with birdies all over the place. He quickly became an intriguing watch for the final stretch. At one point he was tied for the lead with Reed on the back 9. Spieth got all the way to -14 until he stumbled across the finish line with a bogey on the last hole. He finished at -13 for the tournament.

At the beginning of the day it looked like McIlroy and Reed would duel it out for the green jacket, but that was far from the truth. McIlroy began to stumble over the course of the round and finished +2 for the day and -9 for the tournament.

Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm both made their respective charges on the back nine on Sunday. Rahm’s hopes slipped through the cracks, however, when he hit his second in the water on the par 5, 15th. Rahm finished -11 for the tournament. Rickie managed to birdie 12, 13, 15, and 18 on the back nine to finish at -14 and put the pressure firmly on Patrick Reed.

Reed was up and down all day and made the big putts when he needed to. He made long birdie putts on 12 and 14. He made a clutch par putt on 17 to ensure a one stroke lead heading into the final hole. Reed got his par on the 18th and also got his green jacket. He finished -15 for the tournament to beat Rickie Fowler by 1.