AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Young gun Jordan Spieth, evoking memories of Tiger Woods at Augusta National 18 years ago, added his name to golf’s record books with a stunning wire-to-wire victory by four shots at the Masters on Sunday.
Ice-cool whenever he faced adversity, the 21-year-old American closed with a two-under-par 70 to match the tournament record low of 18-under 270 for 72 holes.
Woods achieved the mark when he clinched his maiden major title at the 1997 Masters, also aged 21.
“It was very nerve wracking today,” Spieth said after being helped into the coveted green jacket by last year’s Masters champion, Bubba Watson. “I didn’t sleep last night. It’s the most incredible week of my life and a dream come true for me.”
Spieth’s playing partner Justin Rose of England, the 2013 U.S. Open champion, signed off with a 70 to share second place with three-times winner Phil Mickelson, who carded a 69.
Northern Ireland’s world number one Rory McIlroy, who had been on the brink of missing the cut midway through the second round, finished alone in fourth at 12 under after shooting a 66.
Spieth, who led by four strokes overnight, never allowed his challengers to get any closer than three shots as he relied on his trusty putter and ice-cool composure to rebound from any stumble in breezy conditions.
Out in one-under 35 with a five-stroke cushion, he drained a 20-footer for birdie at the 10th to briefly forge six ahead before he faltered with a three-putt bogey at the tricky par-three 12th.
However, Spieth reached the green in two at the par-five 13th to card his fifth birdie of the day, and picked up another shot at the par-five 15th, again after two-putting, to keep at bay Rose, who reeled off three straight birdies from the 13th.
At that point the first player ever to reach 19 under at the Masters, Spieth did well to save par at the 16th where he coolly knocked in an eight-footer.
After pushing his tee shot right into the trees at the par-four last, Spieth hit his second to just short of the green, chipped up to five feet but narrowly missed the par putt to slip back to 18 under.
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, helped by an eagle at the par-five 13th, closed with a 66 to finish fifth at 11-under 277.
Editing by Gene Cherry