Jordan Spieth heralds new era with stunning Masters win
Spieth equals Tiger Woods's record – and finishes 23 shots ahead of the former world number one
Jordan Spieth is the new Masters champion after dominating the fourth day of the tournament as he had the previous three.
The 21-year-old American equalled the lowest winning score in Masters history in claiming his first Major as kept at bay England's Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson, both of whom finished four shots behind on 14 under.
World number one Rory McIlroy tied for fourth on 12 under after shooting a final day 66 while Tiger Woods finished tied 17th on five under as he carded 73.
Woods' game deserted him at times on Sunday but Speith's nerve held as he shot a two-under 70 as he equalled Woods's winning score of 18 under in 1997.
Woods was 21 years and 104 days when he took the Masters title back then (the tournament's youngest ever champion), 155 days younger than Spieth, who is now the world's number two behind Rory McIlroy.
The pair are sure to dominate golf in the coming years, a rivalry that Spieth is clearly relishing. "He's got four majors, something I can only dream about," said Spieth, who was the first player in 39 years to lead a Masters from start to finish. "I look forward to getting in the heat of the moment with him a few more times in the near future."
McIlroy, never at his best in Augusta as he chased the one Major title to have eluded him thus far, was gracious in defeat, commenting: "Jordan is 21 and it's great to see. Great for the game. And I'm sure he'll win many more."
It has been a remarkable few days for Spieth, whose quality of golf was matched by his composure as the chasing pack tried to haul him in. They failed with the young Texan becoming the first player to card 28 birdies at the Masters. "To shoot some low rounds, make some putts, and hear those roars, it was remarkable," said Spieth. "I know being the reigning Masters champion is going to carry a weight with it, I'm sure I'll figure it out in the next year."
Justin Rose partnered Spieth on the final day but while the Englishman – winner of the 2013 US Open – briefly reduced the American's overnight lead from four shots to three he couldn't sustain his challenge on holes eight and nine. "I got off to a good start but the costly moments were not getting up and down from right of the eighth and three-putting the ninth," said Rose.
As for his rival, the 34-year-old Rose couldn't hide his admiration for his accomplishment. "It's not an easy game [but] anyone who comes out and has played at the level that he has and how consistently he's doing it and how easy he's making it look, yeah, I'm surprised," he said. "It really shouldn't be that easy. You just need to take your hat off and marvel at it and congratulate him because it's very impressive."