Kiradech finishes tied-44th as Reed wins the Masters tournament

Mon 09 Apr 2018

Kiradech finishes tied-44th as Reed wins the Masters tournament


By V Krishnaswamy

Augusta, April 9: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who seemed to be headed out of Augusta early after a disappointing opening round of seven-over-par 79, made a steady recovery with rounds of 70, 70 and 71 to finish in tied-44th place on four-over-par 292 total at the Masters tournament on Sunday.

It was a good fightback from Kiradech over the last three days after a tough start in what was his second appearance at the Augusta National Golf Club. “This has only got me determined to come back and do better,” said Kiradech, Asia’s number one in 2013.

American Patrick Reed, who played college golf in Augusta, held off a host of challengers by closing with a 71 and a 273 total to win his maiden Major championship title at the Masters tournament, which is the year’s first Major.

Reed won by one shot over compatriot Rickie Fowler (67), who capped a solid back-nine 32 after hitting a great second shot to set up a birdie on the par-four 18th hole.

Reed, who birdied the 14th hole to move to 15-under, tamed his nerves to par the last four holes under tense conditions to win his first green jacket.

The final moment for the fiery Reed came when he read the three-and-a-half footer perfectly for par after making his first putt from 25 feet and just over the ridge line on the 18th green.

Rory McIlroy (74), looking to win to complete a career Grand Slam, was right there for the first few holes and even reduced the overnight gap of three to just one shot, but kept missing short putts – he missed five in the first nine holes – and his challenge faded away as he finished tied-fifth.

Kiradech, a three-time Asian Tour winner, traded four birdies against three bogeys at a tournament that seemed be over even before it began. He broke his usual driver two days before the start of the tournament and despite a great effort by his team at Callaway, he could not get used to the brand new driver which he got before the first round.

The big-hitting Kiradech, however, fought hard and played the best he could to make the halfway cut on the mark at five-over-par following a second round 70.  

“It was a good finish after all that happened in the first part of the week,” said Kiradech. “I had been playing well and driving well, so it was a disappointment to see my old driver broken. I thought I would be able to get used to it and my team is very good. But that did not happen and I gave away too much on the first day.”

“I have played well with top-five finishes at two World Golf Championship events and I thought I have a good chance at the Masters where I finished tied-15th two years ago. I want to come back here again and again, because I love this course and it suits me,” Kiradech added.

Asian Tour honorary member Vijay Singh, who closed with a 71, ended his campaign in 49th position on 295 while Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama emerged as the best-placed Asian at tied-19th position on 285.

Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira finished in a share of 28th place on 288 while Haotong Li of China settled a further shot back in tied-32nd place following a closing 72 in his Masters debut.

Before Fowler set the target of 14-under, Jordan Spieth played the round of his life at 64 and only a bogey on 18th deprived him of a share of the course record of 63 held by Nick Price (1986) and Greg Norman (1996). Spieth finished at eight-under for the day and 13-under for the tournament.

Jon Rahm (69) came in fourth at 11-under, while two-time champion Rory McIlroy (74), Bubba Watson (69), Henrik Stenson (70) and Cameron Smith (66) were all tied for fifth. Marc Leishman (70) was ninth and Tony Finau (66) shared the 10th place with World No. 1 Dustin Johnson (69).