8 takeaways from the 2018 Masters

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Patrick Reed has broken his major drought with the prize of a green jacket, but what else can we takeaway from the year's first major? 


➤ The Players Stats: Who performed the best

22 players had eagles during the first major of the year, but it was amateur Doug Ghim who topped the table with three, while Phil Mickelson, Webb Simpson, Jon Rahm and Patrick Reed all had two. Patrick Reed had the highest number of birdies this week (22), one more than Jordan Spieth (21) and two better than Justin Rose (20). 

Putting stats proved to be the big winner in 2018, with champion Patrick Reed having five less putts than anyone else in the field (104) and an average of 1.44. Rory McIlroy was his closest challenger (1.51), followed by Tony Finau and Kevin Kisner (1.54).

Tommy Fleetwood led the way in driving distance at the Masters this year with 310.5 yards as just five players averaged over 300 yards this week. The other four were Dustin Johnson (304.7), Bubba Watson (304), Rory McIlroy (302.5) and Justin Thomas (302.1). Patrick Reed was 6th with an average of 299.2 yards. 

Masters Champion Patrick Reed (41/56) was ranked 13th for driving accuracy, but it was Berhnard Langer who had the best accuracy all week - hitting 48 of 56 fairways. Bubba Watson, who finished 5th at The Masters, was one behind Langer (tied with Ryan Moore), while Matthew Fitzpatrick hit 46, and seven players including Henrik Stenson were T5 after hitting 43/56 fairways. 

In addition to his impressive driving accuracy and driving distance, Bubba Watson also hit the most Greens In Regulation this week (56/72), which was 3 more than Justin Rose and Justin Thomas, who hit 53. Patrick Reed hit just 48. 

➤ Stat Attack: Four American's hold the four majors; and they are all under 30 years old

It's definitely a significant time for the young American professionals in golf. With his victory, Patrick Reed follows Brooks Kopeka (US Open), Jordan Spieth (The Open) and Justin Thomas (PGA Championship) as the fourth consecutive American player aged under 30 to win a major. 

Not only that, but both Rickie Fowler and Spieth finished second and third respectively behind Reed at the 82nd Masters. 

➤ Rickie Fowler can close out a major 

If there were any doubts Rickie Fowler is ready to win a major, they were finally put to bed as he made a clutch birdie putt on the last to pile the pressure on Patrick Reed - forcing the leader to make a par on the l8th to win.  

It wasn't to be for Rickie this week, but he gave an excellent Sunday performance to record his best ever finish at The Masters and posting his first runner-up in a major since both The Open and US Open in 2014.  Six birdies in the last 11 holes was a valiant effort from Fowler, who had just one blemish on his card at the par-four 5th hole during his five-under 67. 

"It was a solid weekend," Fowler said afterwards. "I felt like I’ve been catching some heat for not having the best of weekends and I think the stats have shown that Saturday and Sunday haven’t been my strong rounds as of late."

"But to stick to our game-plan and keep executing and making the swings that I’m accustomed to and should be making on the weekends, it was nice to put together a solid weekend – 65, 67 here when it was still playing tough. You have to go round and execute and I’m very pleased with how I played."

➤ Jordan Spieth has definitely overcome the demons at the 12th hole at Augusta. Oh and don't bet against him at Augusta. 

Jordan Spieth lifted his arms up in celebration after his tee shot on the 12th made it over the water, acknowledging the difficulty he had at the hole in 2016 when two shots in the water cost him a second green jacket. This time, his shot hit the back of the green and he holed the long-range birdie to climb the leaderboard. 

He was unfortunate on the final hole to clip the branch of a tree with his drive that stopped it making the fairway, and his bogey meant he wouldn't be signing for a joint Masters course record of 63. Instead, Spieth settled for 64 and 3rd place and in five starts has now gone T2-1st-T2-T11-3rd. 

"What we did on 12 today was really cool. I mean that hole, even when I didn't hit it in the water in previous years, I three‑putted in 2015 for bogey. So to play a disciplined shot, probably the most pressure‑packed shot I've ever hit, again, I had no idea where I stood, but still the Sunday pin at Augusta and I know what I've done, and my history there, to stand in that kind of pressure and hit the shot to the safe zone to knock that putt in was massive for me going forward.

"And in general this round was fantastic. I mean nobody's going to have a great Sunday every year at Augusta National. To be able to have a chance to win this Tournament five years in a row is really, really cool. And that's how I'm going to take today."

➤ Rory is left to rue another missed chance to complete the career grand slam; Remains positive he can win here 

Rory McIlroy has just posted his fifth consecutive top 10 at The Masters, but what slipped away was the best chance he's had in seven years to convert that in to the career grand slam. It's the final piece of McIlroy's major puzzle, but once again it evaded his grasp as he failed to reproduce the magic of the first three rounds.

There were definite chances, but the chip ins and holed putts that he seemed unable to miss on Saturday became a reality during the fourth round as he let several short putts slip by the hole. Yet despite the frustrations, McIlroy was keen to take the positives.And one of those is his certainty he will put on a green jacket at Augusta National someday.

"Look, it is, of course it's frustrating. But it's hard to take any positives from it right now, but at least I put myself in the position. That's all I wanted to do. The last four years I've had top‑10s, but I haven't been close enough to the lead. Today I got myself there. I didn't quite do enough. But, you know, come back again next year and try."

"Oh, yeah, 100 percent (I can win here). I've played in two final groups in the last seven years, I've had five top‑10s, I play this golf course well. I just haven't played it well enough at the right time."

➤ Tiger Woods finishes strongly despite disappointing week, now plans to take a few weeks off 

Tiger Woods finished his return to the Masters by shooting his best round of the week on Sunday, a three-under 69 that included five birdies and an eagle on the 15th. It was a case of what could have been for Woods, whose distance control with his irons was lacking preciscion throughout the week and his putting wasn't quite there. Yet given this time last year we didn't know if he'd ever play again, a T32 finish in The Masters is not bad at all. 

"For a couple of years I’ve just been coming here just to eat.  And now to be able to play this golf course and to be able to tee it up and play in the Masters, this is one of the greatest walks in all of golf. And I had missed it...

"I think things are progressing.  And it was a little bit disappointing I didn’t hit my irons as well as I needed to for this particular week.  You miss it just a touch here it gets magnified.  And I just didn’t do a good enough job this week in that regard.  But overall I’m five or six tournaments into it, to be able to compete out here and to score like I did, it feels good."

And now? "Take a little time off.  Get back in the gym, start working on my body again.  Get it in good shape.  And get back at it again. I usually take three to four weeks off, throughout my entire career, and usually the clubs are put in the closet and I just kind of get away for a while.  The run up to this event is pretty hard and pretty grueling.  I pushed myself pretty hard to get ready.  And I peaked at it four times over the course of my career and it’s tiring."

➤The Par 3 curse is alive and well 

Tom Watson became the oldest ever winner of the Masters Par 3 contest as he enjoyed a battle between Gary Play and Jack Nicklaus on his way to a six under par victory on the nine hole course - and made sure the  Par 3 jinx is to last at least one year longer. 

Watson made six birdies - including four in a row to start - on his way to beating out Tommy Fleetwood and Thomas Pieters by a single shot and becoming the oldest player to lift the Wednesday trophy on the eve of The Masters (Sam Snead was 62 when he won the event in 1974).

The Par 3 jinx is so called because no Par 3 champion has ever won the main Masters tournament in the same week. 58 and counting...

➤The Course Stats: Which was hardest/easiest

The 11th hole played almost half a shot more difficult than its par, ranking the hardest hole for the week with an average of 4.400. There were 

All four par 5s ranked as the four easiest holes, but it was the par 5 13th which had the lowest average (4.614), with 9 eagles, 128 birdies, 112 pars, 24 bogeys and 7 double bogeys. 

The course average was 72.929 for the week, nearly a shot above par. The out-nine played the harder of the two nines, with an average of 36.693 compared to 36.236.