Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 13th 2015 Contents A55
Monday, April 13, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
American Jordan Spieth claimed his first
major title in historic fashion with a com-
manding wire-to-wire victory in the 79th
Masters at Augusta National yesterday.
Having already set new 36 and 54-hole
scoring records, Spieth also equalled the
72-hole record of 18-under set by Tiger
Woods in 1997 after a bogey on the 18th,
finishing four shots clear of Justin Rose and
Spieth's total of 28 birdies beat the pre-
vious best of 25 set by Mickelson in 2001,
his last of the week on the 15th also making
him the first player ever to reach 19 under
par in the Masters.
The 21-year-old is the first player since
Ray Floyd in 1976 to lead outright from start
to finish, as well as becoming the second
youngest champion ever behind Woods.
Now ranked second in the world, Spieth
is just five months older than Woods was
in 1997, having almost become the youngest
ever champion when he led by two shots
after seven holes of the final round on his
debut last year.
World number one Rory McIlroy, needing
to win to complete the career grand slam,
had to settle for fourth place on 12 under
par after a flawless closing 66, with Japan's
Hideki Matsuyama fifth and Paul Casey,
Ian Poulter and Dustin Johnson sharing
"If someone had told me I would finish
12 under at the start of the week I would
have taken it and sat back and seen where
I finished," McIlroy admitted. "Jordan started
fantastically well and has kept his foot down
and been really impressive."
Rose twice got within three shots of Spieth
on the front nine thanks to birdies on the
first and second and bogeys from Spieth on
the fifth and seventh, the latter coming after
Rose conjured up a remarkable pair after
twice tangling with the trees.
Spieth had said after his third round he
could not rely on his short game to secure
a first green jacket, but an excellent pitch
from just short of the eighth green set up
a birdie that Rose could not match.
And when Rose three-putted the ninth
Spieth had the comfort of a five-shot lead
with nine holes to play, with Mickelson
another shot back having also bogeyed the
Spieth took another massive step towards
the title with a birdie from 20 feet on the
10th and saved par after a wild tee shot on
the 11th to maintain a six-shot lead over
Rose and Mickelson - who had also birdied
the 10th - with seven holes to play.
A lapse in concentration saw Spieth three-
putt the 12th as Mickelson birdied the 13th
and the six-shot lead was suddenly down
But Spieth responded with a superb long-
iron approach on the 13th and although he
missed from 14 feet for eagle, the resulting
birdie took him five clear with five holes to
Rose closed the gap once more with a
birdie on the 14th seconds before Mickelson
joined him on 14 under by holing out from
a bunker on the 15th for an eagle, the roar
causing Spieth to back off his par putt on
14.However, Spieth responded once more
with a birdie on the 15th to become the first
player ever to reach 19 under par in the
Masters and that effectively made certain
of the win.
The star pairing of McIlroy and Woods
had failed to produce the early fireworks
they needed to get into contention and
Woods had more pressing concerns after
appearing to hit a hidden tree root when
playing his second shot out of the pine straw
on the ninth.
"A bone kind of popped out and a joint
went out of place but I put it back in,"
Woods told CBS after just this third appear-
ance of 2015.
Woods hit just two fairways in his closing
73, but finishing joint 17th was still a vast
improvement on his 82 in Phoenix and with-
drawing injured after 11 holes at Torrey
MONACO---Does Rafael Nadal remain the
King of Clay?
That's the big question surrounding the 14-
time Grand Slam winner as the world's best
players gather in Monte Carlo this week for
the first Masters of the season played on clay.
Relaxed, tanned and smiling, the former
top-ranked Nadal looks more than happy to
return to his favorite surface after a mediocre
start to the season during which he believed
he was in the worst form of his life.
The Spaniard has a 15-5 record in 2015, hav-
ing lost in the quarterfinals at the Australian
Open after recovering from a wrist injury and
an appendectomy. After that, he enjoyed a
good week in Buenos Aires where he won the
title in February but then struggled on the
hard courts of Indian Wells and Miami.
"This tournament marks the start of my
favorite part of the season," Nadal told reporters
yesterday as he bids for a ninth title in Monte
Carlo. "I know that I have to play better than
what I did. I'm working to be playing well
again as soon as possible. If I did not believe
in my chances, I would not be here. I would
be doing other stuff, because I already achieved
all the things I needed to do in my career. I
still have the passion and motivation to keep
Nadal, who has dropped to fifth in the rank-
ings, returned to Spain to practice at home
after his loss to Fernando Verdasco in Miami.
He believes the small adjustments he made to
his game are likely to pay off and to help him
play with more consistency and confidence.
Monte Carlo is the first of three Masters
tournaments played on clay and is followed
by Madrid and Rome, leading up to the French
Open, which starts May 24.
Some first-round matches got underway
on Sunday, with the 27th-ranked Bernard
Tomic rallying past Lukas Rosol 4-6, 6-2, 6-
3, and Florian Mayer making a winning return
on the Tour after hitting six aces en route to
a 7-6 (8), 6-4 win over wild card Mikhail
Youzhny. Mayer had been sidelined for more
than a year because of a groin injury. Also,
Victor Estrella Burgos defeated Simone Bolelli
6-4, 7-6 (5).
Nadal said Roland Garros, where he has
reigned supreme over the last 10 years, "is
not in my mind at the moment."
He has been handed a difficult draw in
Monte Carlo, with a potential quarterfinal
match against David Ferrer, who beat him last
year at the same stage of the tournament, and
a possible semifinal with top-ranked Novak
Djokovic, like Nadal's other rivals, is not
giving too much importance to the Spaniard's
current struggles. For them, he remains the
man who won the French Open nine out of
the past 10 years.
Defending champion Stan Wawrinka listed
Nadal alongside Djokovic as the French Open
favourites and the Serb has no doubt about
his soon-to-be recovery.
"Whenever the clay court season comes
around, he is the first player to be mentioned
as the favourite in any tournament," said
Djokovic. "He is called the King of Clay' and
he deserves that crown, He has lost only one
match in Roland Garros, and he is an ultimate
challenge. Even though he has struggled with
injuries and lack of matches, it's Nadal and
this is his surface."
Nadal back to favourite surface
all at US Open
Jordan Spieth kisses his girlfriend Annie after winning the Masters golf tournament
yesterday in Augusta, Ga. AP PHOTO
MIAMI---Lou Williams scored 29 points, DeMar
DeRozan added 24 and the Toronto Raptors put
the Miami Heat on the brink of playoff elimi-
nation with a 107-104 victory Saturday night.
Greivis Vasquez and Kyle Lowry each scored
12 points and Patrick Patterson had 11 for the
Raptors, who clinched home-court advantage in
the first round of the playoffs.
Dwyane Wade scored 30 points for the Heat,
who can only get to 37 wins --- the number that
Brooklyn and Boston are already at, putting them
in the No. 7 and No. 8 spots in the Eastern Con-
ference race. Goran Dragic scored 22 points for
Miami and Hassan Whiteside finished with 16
points and 18 rebounds.
But Whiteside also missed 12 free throws, going
from the line.
Williams hit a 3-pointer with 31.2 seconds left
to put the Raptors up by five, and that just about
sealed not just the game but Miami's playoff fate.
The Heat must win their last two games, and get
a ton of help to reach the postseason for the
seventh straight year.
The win was Toronto's 48th of the season and
22nd on the road, both tying franchise records.
Pau Gasol had 24 points and 13 rebounds and
Derrick Rose had 22 points and eight assists in
28 minutes in the Chicago Bulls' 114-107 victory
over the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Bulls remained tied with the Toronto Rap-
tors for third place in the Eastern Conference with
two games to go for each team.
The 76ers dressed just nine players, but stayed
close with an aggressive, attacking style on both
ends. Robert Covington led Philadelphia with 22
points, Jason Richardson had 19, and JaKarr Samp-
Stephen Curry scored 20 of his 34 points in
the first half, Klay Thompson made three 3-point-
ers in the final 4 minutes and the Golden State
Warriors set yet another franchise record in a 110-
101 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Warriors broke their franchise record with
their 37th home win. They have lost only twice
at home and lead the NBA with a 68-15 record.
Curry made five 3-pointers, went 11 of 21 from
the floor and had seven assists to help the Warriors
complete a four-game sweep of the Timberwolves.
WARRIORS 110, TIMBERWOLVES 101
KNICKS 80, MAGIC 79
CLIPPERS 94, GRIZZLIES 86
JAZZ 111, TRAIL BLAZERS 105
BULLS 114, 76ERS 107
Raptors put Heat on
brink of elimination
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