Willett’s Rapid Rise

Willett’s rapid rise

Willett is one of the golf’s rising stars, having climbed from outside the top 100 to inside the top 10 in less than two years.

But few would have predicted a first major win in only his second appearance on the unforgiving Augusta course, especially because his participation at the Masters had been in doubt, with wife Nicole due to give birth on the final day.

However, the early arrival of baby Zachariah meant Willett, who said he would have stayed at home if his son had not been born, was able to play.

Willett lay three shots adrift of Spieth on level par going into Sunday after opening rounds of 70, 74 and 72.

But he moved to within a stroke with a birdie at the eighth, his eagle putt just coming up short, on his way to a front-nine 34.

Three successive pars from the 10th and birdies on the 13th and 14th saw him move into the lead as Spieth stumbled.

A further birdie on the par-three 16th kept him clear of the field as he completed one of only two bogey-free final rounds.

Who is Danny Willett?
The son of a vicar, he was born on 3 October, 1987 in Sheffield
Left school at 16 but later attended Jacksonville State University in Alabama on a golfing scholarship
Won the 2007 English Amateur Championship and in early 2008 became the world’s top-ranked amateur
Turned professional in 2008 and clinched his first European Tour victory at the 2012 BMW International Open in Germany
Won twice on the European Tour in the 2015 season and made his Masters debut where he finished tied 38th
Captured his fourth European Tour victory at the Dubai Desert Classic in February

The world number 12, who rises to ninth after this win, received a standing ovation as he walked towards the 18th green, on the verge of emulating fellow Englishman Nick Faldo, who won his third and final Green Jacket in 1996.

There was still a nervous wait for Willett though with Spieth needing to birdie the last two holes to force a play-off.

However, the Texan bogeyed the par-four 17th after finding a greenside bunker with his approach, allowing Willett to start his celebrations early.

Spieth was given a sympathetic reception as he trudged towards the clubhouse after a par four on the last but it was no consolation for the emotional two-time major winner.

As Masters tradition dictates, the world number two then had to help Willett into the Green Jacket.

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