AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Well done, Englishmen.
Sheffield’s Danny Willett on Sunday joined three-time winner Nick Faldo as the only Englishmen to capture a Masters championship. It was a huge day for several of his countrymen, too.
Residents or natives of England comprised half of the top 10 at Augusta National. Lee Westwood tied Texan Jordan Spieth for second with a 2-under 286, three shots behind Willett. Paul Casey was fourth at 1 under, while Matthew Fitzpatrick was in a three-way tie for seventh.
Justin Rose, a South African who moved to England as a child, was 10th at 1 over.
It was a cocktail of seasoned vets like Casey, Westwood and Rose mixed with up and comers, including Fitzpatrick, 21 and Willett, 28.
“I hope we’re not changing the guard just yet,” Casey said. “Give us another five years or so.”
In fact, Willett, Casey and Fitzpatrick seemed in perfect synch in the final round at Augusta National. All shot 67s.
Nobody was better over those final 18 holes than the three Englishmen, who shared Sunday’s low score.
But Casey noted that playing in the heyday of Tiger Woods made it tougher on the older guys.
“When we came through we played in the Tiger era, which was fantastic,” Casey said. “It also limited the opportunities you had. They don’t have that now.”
Fitzpatrick, who also is from Sheffield, missed the cut as an amateur playing in the 2014 Masters. Making it to the weekend was his main objective back then, but he’s hoping to build off his strong Masters pro debut.
“I think for me it’s just a momentum boost coming into the rest of the season, I guess,” he said. “It’s the first major of the season and really the start of the year for everyone.”
Willett, meanwhile, got to follow Faldo (1989, 1990 and 1996) as a Masters champion. Scotsman Sandy Lyle won in 1988 and Welshman Ian Woosnam in 1991.
“And to follow up with them it’s fantastic,” Willett said. “They were great champions to win the Masters. And I still can’t believe I’m going to be in and amongst them. And in the Champions locker room. It really boggles me.”