AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - An English invasion at the 80th Masters marked the 20th anniversary of Nick Faldo’s third and final Green Jacket victory in fine fashion on Sunday.
Winner Danny Willett, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Justin Rose each posted under-par final rounds to finish in the top-10, making this Masters a memorable one for English golf.
Westwood carded a three-under 69 to finish tied for second with a two-under 72-hole total, three shots behind the champion. Casey shared fourth place after he matched Willett’s closing 67 for a one-under total.
Fitzpatrick also fired a 67 to finish at level-par in a tie for seventh while 2013 U.S. Open champion Rose checked in with a 70 for a five-way tie for 10th at one-over.
There was a time when Westwood, 42, felt he would be the one to succeed Faldo as the next Masters winner from England, but he was pleased to play alongside his fellow countryman in the final round and witness Willett’s victory lap around Augusta National.
”We both played really well,“ Westwood said. ”Danny played really well and controlled his nerves.
“He hit very few poor shots. I guess he hit it pretty much where he wanted to all day.”
Moments after defending Masters champion Jordan Spieth lost his lead with a disastrous quadruple-bogey seven at 12, Westwood chipped in for eagle from behind the green at 15 to move him within a shot of Willett.
Westwood, however, three-putted 16 for bogey, while Willett made a birdie there to build a comfortable lead coming home.
“I’ve been feeling edgy on the greens for a couple of years now,” said Westwood, who has recorded five top-10 finishes in his last seven Masters starts.
”You get under pressure in Augusta and the greens are running 16, 17 on the (Stimpmeter), you’re going to start feeling a little bit nervous, which I did.
“This was three weeks of golf in 14 weeks for me, so you can’t expect much. But for me to come out here and contend in the first major of the year, I must be doing something right.”
The strong play from the English players will make the next three months interesting to see who wins the two spots on their men’s Olympic golf team, determined by the top two on the world rankings on July 11.
With his win, Willett has climbed to ninth in the world rankings, one spot ahead of Rose. Casey is 24, followed by Andy Sullivan (32), who missed the cut at the Masters, Westwood (35) and Fitzpatrick (39).
Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes