The 27-year-old American closed with a final round 71 to reach 15-under-par and beat home Rickie Fowler by one and a charging Jordan Spieth by two.
Reed is one of the game’s most divisive figures whose brash nature has rubbed many of his colleagues and fans the wrong way but his talent has never been in question and his performance in this 82nd Masters was nothing short of brilliant.
Paired with European Ryder Cup nemesis Rory McIlroy in the final round, fireworks were expected and while they eventuated it wasn’t from his 2016 singles opponent.
Both made spluttering starts and McIlroy looked to be his main rival when he hit a stunning mid-iron to almost tap-in range at the par-5 second to set up an eagle.
But the four-time major winner, who was playing under the weight of chasing a career grand slam, set the tone for the day by missing from 3 feet and letting Reed off the hook.
Ultimately it was Reed’s Ryder Cup teammate and playing partner Jordan Spieth who burst from the chasing pack with a 5-under front nine to apply the blow torch and move within three shots.
He continued to sizzle on the inward nine and when he made his ninth birdie of the day at the par-3 16th, Spieth had a share of the lead.
A poor tee shot at the 18th, however, left him unable to make par and, playing four groups ahead of the final twosome, set the clubhouse target at 13-under.
Fellow young gun Fowler, playing in the penultimate group, then threw his hat in the ring with four birdies from the 12th to get to 14-under and ultimately force Reed to par the last hole to win.
Known as ‘Captain America’, Reed proved up to the task and despite finding trouble off the 17th tee salvaged par with a gutsy five-foot putt then hit two quality shots to the last, and made a less than straightforward two-putt, for the victory.
“To have to par the last hole to win my first major, it definitely felt right,” he said in the Butler Cabin at the Green Jacket ceremony.
“I knew it was going to be tough. Just trying to close off a golf tournament is really hard but to close off your first major and to do it at a place that’s so close to me, being this is where I went to college.
“I knew that the lead was going to shrink at some times, I knew the lead could grow, it’s just the flows of golf.
“You have to know how to handle it and the only way that I felt I could get that done was to make sure the putter was working.”
Reed pointed to two crucial moments over the closing holes which he said sealed the victory for him.
“To be able to make that putt, I felt like on 14 (where he made birdie) and then the two putt on 17 (where he missed the green short and left) just gave me that momentum going to 18.”
Spain’s Jon Rahm finished outright fourth though was less than pleased with his finish after finding the water with his second shot to the par-5 15th and dropping a shot.
Australia’s Cameron Smith blistered the back nine in 6-under 30 to be part of a four way tie for fifth place alongside Bubba Watson, Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy while Marc Leishman was alone in ninth after posting five birdies in his last seven holes.
The clinching putt.April 8, 2018
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