Patrick Reed has donned the coveted Masters green jacket after holding on to a gutsy victory at Augusta National on Sunday.
The 27-year-old from Texas started the final round with a three-shot lead, but a one-under-par 71 was enough to earn a 15 under total and a one-shot win over world No.8 Rickie Fowler (67).
“It was always going to be tough; trying to close off (any) golf tournament is hard,” Reed said in the Butler Cabin.
“To close off a major … it’s almost impossible to put into words.
“Just to make the putt on the last, to know I’ve won my first major, meant so much to me.”
Reed is the fourth straight first-time major winner at Augusta, following Jordan Spieth, Danny Willett and Sergio Garcia.
Earning his first win on golf’s major championship stage, Reed also held off a stern challenge from Spieth – the 2015 Masters champion carding a 64 to finish solo third at 13 under.
Spanish world No.3 Jon Rahm (69) finished outright fourth at 11 under.
The final day was billed as a match-up between Ryder Cup rivals and final group playing partners Reed and Rory McIlroy.
But four-time major winner McIlroy, who needed a Masters victory to complete the career grand slam, missed a short putt for eagle at the par five second and never got out of first gear during a disappointing 74.
The true challenge came from Reed’s Ryder Cup teammate Spieth, who racked up nine birdies in 16 holes before a bogey at the 18th cruelled any hope of a second Masters title.
“I knew every shot coming down the stretch was important, so I’m obviously pretty gutted at the finish,” Spieth said.
“But it was a phenomenal day; I think I’ve proven to myself and to others that you never give up.”
Meanwhile, Cameron Smith finished as the leading Australian and guaranteed a start at next year’s Masters courtesy of finishing inside the top 12.
Smith carded a 66 to finish at nine under and tied for fifth, his second top-five at the majors following a share of fourth at the 2015 US Open.
Next best was Victorian native Marc Leishman, whose 70 left him solo ninth at eight under, while countryman Jason Day carded a 71 to earn a share of 20th at two under.
Rounding out the Australian contingent was 2013 Masters winner Adam Scott, who signed off on his campaign with a respectable 71 to share 32nd at one-over.
Also at one-over was 14-time major winner Tiger Woods, whose 69 closed a disappointing Masters effort after fever pitch levels of hype coming into his first competitive trip to Augusta in three years.
Paul Casey (five under) threatened the Augusta course record on his way to a 65, but bogeys at the final two holes cost Casey a share of the record 63 held by Nick Price (third round, 1986) and Greg Norman (first round, 1996).