After the dust has settled on the pine straw of Augusta we look back on the tournament as one to remember. Patrick Reed’s spectacular performance to claim his first major should not be overlooked but there are plenty who exceeded expectations who will all be looking to carry their form through to the remaining majors this year.
Reed did the hard work on Friday and Saturday allowing him to establish a three-shot lead going into Sunday. McIlory’s hopes were ended after his putter betrayed him on the final round and finished six shots back after a final round 74. Reed remained calm to shoot a one-under 71 which was enough to claim the green jacket after fending off charges from Fowler and Spieth on a characteristically dramatic back nine at Augusta.
Tony Finau offered one of the most enthralling narratives of the week. Finishing joint tenth in his first Master’s would have been above the 28-year-old’s expectations. But after the dramatic events of Wednesday, which saw Finau dislocate his ankle following a hole-in-one during the par-3 competition, his achievement is even more remarkable.
“Cameron Smith is a future contender”
Australian Cameron Smith, in his second Masters appearance, also performed well above pre-tournament predictions finishing in a tie for fifth after a stunning final round. At just 24 Smith looks set to build on this performance and may well be in contention for the green jacket in the future.
Someone who went under the radar for the weekend was the ever-consistent Henrik Stenson. Stenson managed to finish every day 2 under par or better over the weekend which saw him quietly towards a 9 under finish in tied 5th place. The former number one and Olympic Silver medallist will be hoping to build on this impressive, yet understated display come this time next year.
Looking forward to the remaining majors this year it is hard to look beyond Spieth and McIlory who both looked back to their best at Augusta. If Spieth can reproduce his fourth-round magic he will be unstoppable. Justin Rose is a favourite for the U.S. Open due to his record on the worlds toughest courses and his current form having achieved multiple top-ten’s in 2018.
“Rose Favourite for US Open”
A major championship looks just around the corner for Ricky Fowler having competed so valiantly in the final round at Augusta and boasting nine top-ten finishes in majors up to this point. The PGA Championship looks his most likely route to a major crown.
Slightly more outside bets for a major title this year come in the form of Tommy Fleetwood and John Rahm. Both performed excellently at Augusta and Rahm’s meteoric rise to the top of the professional game shows little sign of slowing, maybe he can claim his first major at Carnoustie in July.
This year’s Masters allowed for established stars to prove why they are at the top of sport but has also illuminated some newer names which sets up for a fascinating rest of 2018.