With the 2020 Masters postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, we have drawn from the well of the tournament's rich history to produce something unique.

From its inception in 1934 right up to last year's stunning triumph for Tiger Woods, this major has always delivered the goods.

While the Augusta course may lie dormant for now, echoes of a glorious past still ring around its verdant fairways and greens.

Using daily leaderboards from a selection of the most memorable editions of the event, we have created a Fantasy Masters.

And here is how a thrilling final round went down...

 

Jordan Spieth (2015) edged out Tiger Woods (1997) on the second play-off hole to win the Fantasy Masters following a thrilling tussle between the two American young guns.

The pair, both just 21, went out in the final group at Augusta as Spieth started Sunday's round with a one-stroke lead over Woods and Raymond Floyd (1976).

Spieth headed to the 18th eyeing a record low score, having become the first player to reach 19 under, but he fluffed his lines with a bogey as Woods capitalised to record a par and force his rival into a play-off.

After both sunk nerveless pars, Spieth stepped it up a gear on the 10th, draining a birdie putt to earn the green jacket following a wire-to-wire triumph.

Spieth racked up a record 28 birdies, finishing an aggregate 12 under on the par fives to underline his clinical brilliance.

Floyd came mighty close to making it a three-way title tussle but, after birdies at 12 and 15, he could not find another gain to force the issue.

Another home hope left to rue a missed opportunity was Patrick Reed (2018), whose 71 was his worst round of the week as he closed on 15 under.

Spain's Seve Ballesteros (1980) squandered an even better chance. Having got to 16 under at the turn following a fine front-nine 33, he ended up signing for an even-par 72 to finish five strokes off the pace.

Ben Crenshaw (1995), a winner here in 1984, took fifth place ahead of Ballesteros and Fred Couples (1992) with a 68.

At the wrong end of the leaderboard, Nick Faldo (1996), Arnold Palmer (1964) and Angel Cabrera (2009) ended on 12 under.

 

WHAT THEY SAID

Jordan Spieth: "It's the most incredible week of my life. This is as great as it gets in our sport. I'm still kind of shock a little bit."

LEADERBOARD

Jordan Spieth (2015) -18 (won on second play-off hole)

Tiger Woods (1997) -18

Raymond Floyd (1976) -17

Patrick Reed (2018) -15

Ben Crenshaw (1995) -14

Seve Ballesteros (1980) -13

Fred Couples (1992) -13

Angel Cabrera (2009) -12

Arnold Palmer (1964) -12

Nick Faldo (1996) -12

*Play-off result determined by average score, rounded to nearest whole number, on 18th and 10th holes across all four rounds

As sporting drama goes, few things are more reliably captivating than the final round of the Masters.

On what would have been Masters Sunday eve, we take a look at how the previous six Augusta finales have played out.

 

2014

Champion: Bubba Watson

Margin of victory: Three shots

Position after R3: T1 (with Jordan Spieth)

Final-round summary: Tournament debutant Spieth threatened to pull off a major shock when he pulled two clear of fellow third-round leader Watson - the 2012 winner - through seven holes on Sunday. However, a four-shot swing over the next two put Watson in charge and he ultimately triumphed with relative comfort. Spieth and Jonas Blixt finished three shots off the pace in second as Watson completed a 69 to secure his second victory at Augusta in three years.

 

2015

Champion: Jordan Spieth

Margin of victory: Four shots

Position after R3: 1 (leading by four)

Final-round summary: Twelve months on from his impressive debut, Spieth was a class above the rest as he cruised to a remarkable, record-breaking success. Only 21 at the time, the Texan had led after each of the first three days and demonstrated supreme composure to retain a healthy advantage over the final 18 holes. Spieth's lead was never less than three on Sunday and he equalled the lowest score in tournament history - matching Woods' aggregate of 270 in 1997 - despite bogeying the final hole. Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson, his nearest challengers, were four shots adrift.

2016

Champion: Danny Willett

Margin of victory: Three shots

Position after R3: T5 (three off the lead)

Final-round summary: Spieth looked set to record another wire-to-wire win and prevail by an even greater margin when he birdied four holes in a row to open up a five-shot lead with nine holes to play. Yet a stunning collapse lay ahead as he followed bogeys at the 10th and 11th by finding the water twice on his way to a staggering quadruple-bogey seven at the short 12th. That nightmare for Spieth left Willett in charge, the Englishman having just birdied the 13th and 14th holes up ahead. Willett could have buckled under the pressure, but he duly picked up another shot on 16 and parred the last two to finish three clear of Spieth and Lee Westwood at five under. 

 

2017

Champion: Sergio Garcia

Margin of victory: Play-off

Position after R3: T1 (with Justin Rose)

Final-round summary: For the second year running, the closing stages of the Masters provided outstanding drama, as Garcia and Rose slugged it out in a titanic duel. So often the nearly man in majors, Garcia was three clear of Rose after five holes but appeared likely to fall short once again as he slipped behind early on the back nine. A miraculous par save at 13 and an eagle at 15 revived the Spaniard, yet he then missed a five-footer for the win on the final hole. Amid increasing tension, Garcia eventually broke his major duck in a play-off, making birdie to Rose's bogey when the pair returned to the 18th. 

 

2018

Champion: Patrick Reed

Margin of victory: Two shots

Position after R3: 1 (leading by three)

Final-round summary: Rory McIlroy was chasing a career Grand Slam and expected to provide the biggest challenge to Reed, who began Sunday three clear at the top of the leaderboard. However, McIlroy slumped to a 74 and it was left to Rickie Fowler and a charging Spieth to threaten Reed's position. Spieth put together a stunning 64, but came up two short as Reed pipped Fowler by one with a closing 71 and earned his maiden major title.

2019

Champion: Tiger Woods

Margin of victory: One shot

Position after R3: T2 (two off the lead)

Final-round summary: Stormy weather meant an early start and groups of three, with players going off the first and 10th tees. Former Open champion and 2018 Ryder Cup hero Francesco Molinari's bid for Masters glory was derailed when he found the water at 15, a hole where Tiger Woods carded a birdie to assume the outright lead. Another gain followed at 16 and the likes of Xander Schauffele, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka could not keep pace. A bogey at the last was enough to secure Woods' fifth green jacket, 14 years after the previous one.

With the 2020 Masters postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, we have drawn from the well of the tournament's rich history to produce something unique.

From its inception in 1934 right up to last year's stunning triumph for Tiger Woods, this major has always delivered the goods.

While the Augusta course may lay dormant for now, echoes of a glorious past still ring around its verdant fairways and greens.

Using daily leaderboards from a selection of the most memorable editions of the event, we have created a Fantasy Masters.

And here is how a thrilling third round went down...

 

Tiger Woods (1997) carded a stunning 65 to move to within one stroke of Fantasy Masters leader Jordan Spieth (2015).

The young duo, both just 21, face stiff competition from Raymond Floyd (1976), who sits level with Woods on 15 under after recovering from a double-bogey six at the 11th to sign for a 70.

Seve Ballesteros (1980) cut the gap to the summit from five shots to three with a 68, leaving the Spaniard one behind Patrick Reed (2018) following the American's excellent 67.

Woods, who shot a 66 on Friday, went one better in round three, where he piled the pressure on Spieth, who is eyeing a wire-to-wire triumph.

Having started the day six shots behind Spieth, Woods was quick out of the blocks and made the first of four front-nine gains on the second hole.

He put the seal on a fine Augusta outing by birdieing the last to conclude a blemish-free round that stood in stark contrast to Spieth's scorecard.

Spieth's 70 saw him struggle badly on the par fours, where he was three over – seven shots worse than his first-round effort – and a run of four birdies in five holes was largely undone by a a bogey at 14 and a double at 17.

A field shorn of the likes of Jack Nicklaus (1965) and Gary Player (1978) following the cut is now tightly packed heading into the final round, although Nick Faldo (1996) slipped well off the pace.

The Englishman, who won back-to-back Masters titles in 1989 and 1990, posted a scruffy 73 which included a double bogey and five other dropped shots, salvaged slightly by a birdie at the last.

Arnold Palmer (1964), who only narrowly made the weekend, was one of four players to register a 69, along with Fred Couples (1992), Angel Cabrera (2009) and Ben Crenshaw (1995).

 

LEADERBOARD

Jordan Spieth (2015) -16

Tiger Woods (1997) -15

Raymond Floyd (1976) -15

Patrick Reed (2018) -14

Seve Ballesteros (1980) -13

Fred Couples (1992) -11

Angel Cabrera (2009) -11

Arnold Palmer (1964) -10

Ben Crenshaw (1995) -10

Nick Faldo (1996) -7

With the 2020 Masters postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, we have drawn from the well of the tournament's rich history to produce something unique.

From its inception in 1934 right up to last year's stunning triumph for Tiger Woods, this major has always delivered the goods.

While the Augusta course may lay dormant for now, echoes of a glorious past still ring around its verdant fairways and greens.

Using daily leaderboards from a selection of the most memorable editions of the event, we have created a Fantasy Masters.

And here is how a thrilling second round went down...

 

Jack Nicklaus (1965) remarkably failed to make the cut as Jordan Spieth (2015) and Raymond Floyd (1976) pulled clear of the chasing pack on day two of the Fantasy Masters.

Spieth, who came up just short of an Augusta course record when he shot an opening 64, carded a 66 on Friday to maintain his one-stroke lead over Floyd.

But there was a huge shock lower down the leaderboard as Nicklaus, two years on from claiming the green jacket, fluffed his lines on Amen Corner to ensure he will miss the weekend.

Nicklaus bogeyed the 11th, 12th and 13th, ensuring his back-to-back gains at the 15th and 16th came in a fruitless effort.

He was far from the only big name to drop out of the tournament, with Tom Watson (1977) and Gary Player (1978) also missing the cut, along with Ben Hogan (1953), Phil Mickelson (2010) and Charl Schwartzel (2011).

The big movers were Tiger Woods (1997) and Patrick Reed (2018), who both signed for a 66, leaving them on eight and nine under respectively.

Spieth and Floyd's relative comfort at the summit owes much to the fact Seve Ballesteros (1980) could not keep the pressure on, despite a late rally.

After slipping below the cut mark with six holes left, the Spaniard birdied four of the next five to end the day third, but five shots from the top.

Arnold Palmer (1964) survived an even closer call with the cut line, the 34-year-old keeping his nerve to make a decisive three on the par-four 18th.

Other players who kept their hopes alive were Nick Faldo (1996), Fred Couples (1992), Angel Cabrera (2009) and Ben Crenshaw (1995).

 

WHAT THEY SAID

Paul Azinger: "He [Tiger Woods] didn't miss a putt inside 10 feet. If he's going to drive it great and not miss a putt inside 10 feet, he is going to beat you."

Gary Player: "One of the things I am is an eternal optimist. I was playing excellent golf, and I hadn't made any putts. But you have to keep on aiming at them."

 

LEADERBOARD

Jordan Spieth (2015) -14

Raymond Floyd (1976) -13

Seve Ballesteros (1980) -9

Patrick Reed (2018) -9

Tiger Woods (1997) -8

Nick Faldo (1996) -8

Fred Couples (1992) -8

Angel Cabrera (2009) -8

Arnold Palmer (1964) -7

Ben Crenshaw (1995) -7

-CUT-CUT-CUT-CUT-CUT-

Jack Nicklaus (1965) -6

Phil Mickelson (2010) -6

Tom Watson (1977) -5

Ben Hogan (1953) -5

Charl Schwartzel (2011) -4

Gary Player (1978) Even

With the 2020 Masters postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, we have drawn from the well of the tournament's rich history to produce something unique.

From its inception in 1934 right up to last year's stunning triumph for Tiger Woods, this major has always delivered the goods.

While the Augusta course may lay dormant for now, echoes of a glorious past still ring around its verdant fairways and greens.

Using daily leaderboards from a selection of the most memorable editions of the event, we have created a Fantasy Masters.

And here is how a thrilling opening round went down...

 

Jordan Spieth (2015) leads a star-studded field after shooting a stunning 64 in the opening round of the Fantasy Masters.

The American sits proudly atop a leaderboard dominated by his compatriots, sinking nine birdies to reach eight under at Augusta.

Spieth, 21, was eyeing a course record until a bogey at the 15th slowed his progress, although he was not too downbeat.

"I wasn't aware what the course record was here, let alone that it actually would have been the lowest round in major championship history. So that's a little frustrating," he said, with Nick Price's 63 safe for now.

"But I'm certainly okay with the day."

However, he faces pressure from Raymond Floyd (1976), who birdied each of the four par fives to stay within one stroke of the summit.

Seve Ballesteros (1980) is flying the flag for Europe, the Spaniard taking a typically bold approach in his 66, putting him one ahead of Jack Nicklaus (1965) and Phil Mickelson (2010).

A scruffy start left Tiger Woods (1997) well off the pace at the turn, sitting four over, but he surged on the way home – highlighted by an eagle three at 15, where Spieth faltered – to sign for a lop-sided 70, taking 40 shots on the front nine and 30 on the back.

Argentina's Angel Cabrera (2009), winner of the 2007 U.S. Open, is in the frame after carding a 68, putting him a solitary stroke clear of a five-man chasing pack consisting of Arnold Palmer (1964), Nick Faldo (1996), Fred Couples (1992), Patrick Reed (2018) and Charl Schwartzel (2011).

Meanwhile, Ben Hogan (1953), Ben Crenshaw (1995) and Tom Watson (1977) matched Woods' score, with Gary Player (1978) propping up the pile as the only man failing to shoot an under-par score.

 

WHAT THEY SAID

Tiger Woods: "I was pretty hot going to the 10th tee. I couldn't keep the ball in the fairway. I couldn't attack the pin. I knew what I was doing wrong. I was in such a bad position at the top of the backswing, I was coming off the ball. But after I realised that, it was just a matter of trusting the motion."

Patrick Reed: "It was one of those steady days where you go out and play normal golf and let the birdies come to you. Around this place, pars are good. I was able to plop myself around and when I had an opportunity I capitalised on it."

LEADERBOARD

Jordan Spieth (2015) -8

Raymond Floyd (1976) -7

Seve Ballesteros (1980) -6

Jack Nicklaus (1965) -5 

Phil Mickelson (2010) -5

Angel Cabrera (2009) -4

Arnold Palmer (1964) -3

Nick Faldo (1996) -3

Fred Couples (1992) -3

Patrick Reed (2018) -3 

Charl Schwartzel (2011) -3

Tiger Woods (1997) -2

Ben Hogan (1953) -2

Ben Crenshaw (1995) -2

Tom Watson (1977) -2

Gary Player (1978) Even

On the eve of what would have been the opening round of this year's Masters, we take a look back at seven magic moments from the Augusta archives.

1935 - Gene Sarazen hits 'the shot heard around the world'

The Masters was established in 1934, but it was in the following year that the tournament really captured people's attention - thanks largely to a stunning albatross that helped Gene Sarazen to victory. Sarazen trailed Craig Wood by three shots as he headed to the 15th tee, but wiped out that deficit in sensational fashion by holing his second shot with a 4-wood from 235 yards. He went on to claim his seventh and final major title in a Monday play-off, although Wood finally tasted success at Augusta six years later. The Sarazen Bridge at Augusta's 15th hole commemorates one of the most famous shots in the history of golf.

1986 - The Golden Bear rolls back the years

The legendary Jack Nicklaus remains the oldest winner of The Masters, having claimed victory in the 50th staging of the tournament at the age of 46. Nicklaus' 18th major title - a total that has yet to be surpassed - was secured by a remarkable late-round surge on Sunday that saw the 'Golden Bear' follow an eagle at 15 with successive birdies to reach nine under. As his putt for a three at the par-four 17th dropped, giving Nicklaus the lead for the first time in the tournament, the veteran raised his putter in the air and adopted a pose that would soon become iconic.

1987 - Local hero Mize leaves Norman stunned

Few people gave Larry Mize a chance when he went up against Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros in a sudden-death play-off at the 1987 Masters. A relatively unheralded Augusta native, Mize had won only one previous event on the PGA Tour and was unsurprisingly viewed as a rank outsider in a battle with two of the world's best. However, Ballesteros bowed out with a bogey at the first play-off hole, the 10th, and Mize then claimed glory courtesy of a magnificent birdie on the par-four 11th. Having missed the green to the right, and with Norman on the front edge in two, Mize remarkably chipped in before bounding on to the putting surface in celebration. "It was total elation," he told Perform ahead of this year's event. "I was just running around screaming like a mad man." Norman missed his birdie putt and mentions of 'Larry Mize country' are frequently heard on Masters commentary to this day when players go right at the 11th.

2004 - Mickelson breaks major duck

Having long held the unwanted tag of being the best player never to win a major, Phil Mickelson answered his critics on April 11, 2004 by coming out on top in one of the most thrilling conclusions in Masters history. 'Lefty' had eight top-three finishes in majors to his name, but had yet to land one of the game's biggest titles when he began his final round level with Chris DiMarco at the top of the leaderboard. A familiar outcome appeared likely when Mickelson played his first six holes in two over par, but he responded by birdieing five of the last seven, including the 18th, to pip Ernie Els in a titanic duel. His successful 18-foot putt for a three at the final hole sparked scenes of unbridled joy and a delighted Mickelson said: "To have it be such a difficult journey to win my first major makes it that much more sweeter."

2005 - 'That' Tiger Woods chip

DiMarco topped the leaderboard after each of the first two rounds in 2005, only for Tiger Woods to storm into a three-stroke lead courtesy of a third-round 65 played across two days due to inclement weather. To his credit, DiMarco fought back in the final round and was only one behind Woods as both players approached the par-three 16th. When the underdog hit the green with his tee shot and Woods missed the target, their battle looked set to go right down to the wire. Woods had other ideas, however, as he made birdie courtesy of a sublime chip that saw him aim well left of the hole and use the slope of the putting surface to great effect. The world number one's ball hovered on the edge of the cup for what seemed an eternity before finally toppling in to deafening applause. CBS commentator Verne Lundquist summed up the drama by screaming "Oh, wow! In your life, have you seen anything like that?!" Woods was made to work hard for his fourth green jacket as he bogeyed the next two holes before eventually prevailing in a play-off.

2012 - Bubba produces miracle hook

There were nerves aplenty when another play-off was required to decide the champion at Augusta in 2012. Bubba Watson and 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen started off the sudden-death decider by each parring the 18th and then finding the woods on the right of the 10th, the second play-off hole. Oosthuizen came up short of the green with his second and there appeared little chance of Watson improving on his rival's effort. However, the maverick left-hander duly produced a miraculous escape from the pine straw, hooking his ball around the trees and onto the green. When Oosthuizen failed to get up and down, Watson was left with two putts to win and made no mistake in securing the first of two green jackets to date.

2017 - Sergio's major wait finally ends

In a sport of fine margins, Sergio Garcia was probably golf's ultimate nearly man. The Spaniard was tipped for the top from a young age, underlining his vast potential with a runner-up finish at the 1999 US PGA Championship, when he was just 19. However, that close brush with glory set the tone for a career that was for a long time defined by heartbreak. In 2002, Garcia placed in the top 10 at all four majors. Heading into the 2017 Masters, he had 22 top-10 finishes in the quartet of headline events, but no victories to show for his efforts from 73 attempts. In 2017, he stood over a five-foot putt to win The Masters on the 72nd hole, with Justin Rose an anxious onlooker. Garcia missed, leading to a play-off with Rose. It was there that Garcia finally ended his long wait for major success, coolly sinking a birdie putt to secure the green jacket.

2019 - Woods wins again to end near 11-year major drought

Woods' 2018 Tour Championship success hinted his comeback was on the right track and his return to the upper echelons of the game was completed with a remarkable victory. Fifteen years after his previous Augusta title, and almost 11 years after he last won a major, Woods put years of off-course issues and injury problems behind him. As overnight leader Francesco Molinari capitulated, Woods remained strong, using all his experience to finish with a two-under-par 70 to win on 13 under, one clear of fellow Americans Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka. There were raucous celebrations on the 18th green as Woods celebrated with his children. He said: "To have my kids there, it's come full circle. My dad was here in 1997 and now I'm the dad with two kids there. It will be up there with one of the hardest I've had to win because of what has transpired in the last couple of years."

The Masters is one of the most storied events in sport.

Thursday was scheduled to be the opening day of the 2020 edition, but the coronavirus pandemic put paid to that.

Still, the Augusta major's rich history leaves plenty for us to look back on.

Here is a selection of the best Opta facts relating to what is traditionally the first major of the year...

 

- The US has dominated this major, with 61 of the 83 editions of the tournament having been won by Americans. 

- Jack Nicklaus holds the record for most wins at the Masters (6), ahead of Tiger Woods (5).

- Woods is the youngest player to wear the green jacket, having been 21 years, 104 days old when he triumphed in 1997.

- Nicklaus is the oldest to claim victory, doing so in 1986 when he was 46 years, 82 days old.

- The Masters is the only major in which Woods has always made the cut as a professional (20 out of 20).

- Fuzzy Zoeller is the last player to win the Masters at the first attempt, back in 1979.

- With his 2019 victory, Woods became only the second player over the age of 40 to have won a major on US soil in the 21st century, with Vijay Singh having lifted the 2004 US PGA Championship when he was 41.

- Only three players have won back-to-back green jackets - Woods (2001, 2002), Nicklaus (1965, 1966) and Nick Faldo (1989, 1990).

- Rory McIlroy just needs to add the Masters to his major collection to complete a career Grand Slam, which would see him join a club that includes Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Nicklaus and Woods.

- The Masters is the only major tournament where Jordan Spieth has finished inside the Top 25 on each appearance (6/6).

- Only one of the last 43 Masters tournaments saw a wire-to-wire victory – Spieth in 2015.

Tyrrell Hatton and Sung Kang hit the front at the Arnold Palmer Invitational as overnight leader Matt Every endured a horror second round and missed the cut.

With Every carding an 11-over-par 83, Hatton and Kang and pounced by moving onto seven under for the tournament at Bay Hill, while world number one Rory McIlroy was two shots off the pace in a tie for fourth.

After an opening seven-under 65, two-time champion Every had four double bogeys on Friday and became the first outright leader to miss the cut at a PGA Tour event since Camilo Vegas at the Honda Classic in 2013.

Every's display included doubles at the fourth, 10th, 11th and 18th, with a three putt from inside 18 feet at the last compounding his wretched day.

Hatton, who teed off from the 10th, registered a second bogey of the day on the third but responded by sinking an 18-foot putt on the par-five fourth and posting another gain on his penultimate hole.

Kang, meanwhile, picked up strokes on the 12th and 13th before a birdie-par-birdie finish earned him a share of pole position.

McIlroy slipped to three over for the day when he got stuck in the rough on the eighth and carded a double bogey, but he holed a putt from 20 feet on the 17th and signed for a 73.

The four-time major champion is level with Harris English (70) and Im Sung-jae (69) on five under for the tournament.

Marc Leishman (69) and Patrick Reed (70) are one shot further back, while former world number one Jason Day withdrew due to a back injury and Emiliano Grillo was disqualified after an eight-over 80.

Danny Lee produced the best round of the day, sealing a five-under 67 and third position with a wonderful birdie from the rough on 18.

Matt Every carded a blemish-free 65 to lead by one shot from fellow former champion Rory McIlroy after the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

American Every overcame high winds as one of the late starters to record seven birdies on a Bay Hill course he knows well, having triumphed at the tournament in 2014 before defending his title the following year.

His performance was even more impressive considering he missed the cut at the Honda Classic a week ago after an 85 on the Friday.

The 36-year-old edged clear at the top of the leaderboard with a three at his penultimate hole after McIlroy - winner in 2018 - had overcome a sluggish start to set the clubhouse target.

Starting on the back nine, world number one McIlroy found water as he bogeyed his second hole but managed to still be under par at the turn thanks to a pair of birdies.

McIlroy then produced some blistering golf on his way back in, including an eagle at the fourth where he overcame finding a fairway bunker off the tee with a stunning shot out of the sand.

"I made a couple of unforced errors starting off. I hit it in the water at 11 and actually made a good bogey in the end, and then missed a little one on 12," McIlroy told Sky Sports.

"I think with the start, then turning in under par with the birdie at 16 and 18, I had a bit of a pep in my step going to the first tee. I played some great golf after that.

"I got a bit of a momentum and kept it going until the end."

Talor Gooch and Scottie Scheffler sat tied on five under, a shot ahead of a six-man group that included Graeme McDowell, who was victorious at the Saudi International last month.

Patrick Reed posted a two-under 70 and Brooks Koepka signed for an even-par 72, while defending champion Francesco Molinari pulled out before starting his round due to a back injury.

Patrick Reed secured the WGC-Mexico Championship with a one-stroke victory on Sunday.

The American produced a fine finish at Club de Golf Chapultepec, birdieing four of his remaining seven holes on his way to a four-under 67 in the final round.

Reed finished at 18 under, a shot clear of Bryson DeChambeau, who carded a six-under 65.

It marked Reed's eighth PGA Tour win and first of 2020, and second World Golf Championships success, with the other coming in 2014 when this event was called the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

Reed made three straight birdies from holes 15 to 17 to grab control, closing out victory despite a bogey at the par-four 18th.

"It's very rewarding," he told NBC.

"My team and I we've worked so hard through the end of last year and also the beginning of this year and we kept on feeling like we were playing some good golf, just we weren't quite able to get over that hump.

"To come back and win my second World Golf Championship, especially with how I had to finish basically 15 onwards. The last hole was ugly but it was what I needed just to get the job done and at the end of the day just putting yourself in these positions on Sunday is just unbelievable, it's a great feeling.

"I can't wait to go home and celebrate with the little ones and my wife and bring them home a trophy."

Spaniard Jon Rahm (67) and South African Erik van Rooyen (70) finished tied for third at 15 under.

World number one Rory McIlroy could only manage a closing three-under 68 to end up fifth a further shot back.

Overnight leader Justin Thomas struggled to a two-over 73 that saw him finish tied for sixth alongside Hideki Matsuyama (67) and Tyrrell Hatton (68).

Thomas made three bogeys on his front nine before adding a double-bogey at the par-four 10th and dropping another shot at 13.

Justin Thomas holds a one-shot lead after an eventful third round at the WGC-Mexico Championship that included Jon Rahm breaking the course record.

After scores of 67 and 66 over the previous two days, Thomas continued going in the right direction by signing for a 65 on Saturday, moving him to 15 under par.

The American started and finished his work with bogeys, yet in between had eight birdies to put himself clear at the top of a high-class leaderboard and in pole position for his third title of the 2019-20 PGA Tour season.

Erik van Rooyen and Patrick Reed head the chasing pack after both signed for 67s at the Club de Golf Chapultepec.

Van Rooyen had moved into contention at the halfway stage with a 62 that tied the course record – but Rahm went one better to climb to 11 under.

The Spaniard made a brilliant start with birdies at six of his first seven holes and following three more after the turn, he produced a stunning hole-in-one at the par-three 17th, his tee shot dropping into the cup on the second bounce.

"With the start I had today, the only thing in mind was trying to get as close as possible to the leaders," Rahm – whose solitary blemish during a spectacular day came at the eighth – said after the lowest score of his professional career.

"If I had a good finish, I was going to have a chance tomorrow, and that's kind of what gave me a second wind on the back nine."

Rahm is tied for fourth alongside Ryder Cup team-mate Rory McIlroy (68) and halfway leader Bryson DeChambeau, who followed up Friday's 63 with a 71 that included a double-bogey seven after finding water at the sixth.

Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton and Paul Casey are a further shot back on 10 under.

Bryson DeChambeau birdied his way to a one-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the WGC-Mexico Championship on Friday.

DeChambeau produced a putting masterclass to move top of the leaderboard after two rounds with an eight-under-par 63.

The American golfer had seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch as he lit up Club de Golf Chapultepec.

DeChambeau finished with nine birdies and just one bogey to be 11 under and clear of countryman Patrick Reed (63) and South African Erik van Rooyen (62).

"It was a lot of fun," DeChambeau said. "Surely when you have days like that you can't help but smile out there, and making those putts the way I did, striking the ball the way I did, it's surely a joy out there.

"The confidence has got to be high. It is high, and it's a lot of fun to see putts finally going in. I'm going to go out and do my work like I normally do, go putt a little bit, hit some balls, but overall everything is going pretty well. I’m firing on all cylinders."

Birthday boy Van Rooyen, 30, tied the course record with his sizzling and flawless second round, which included nine birdies.

Justin Thomas (66) dropped two positions to nine under as he ended the second day tied for fourth alongside Hideki Matsuyama (64).

World number one Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, lost top spot following his two-under-par 69.

Carrying a two-shot lead into the second round, McIlroy was unable to replicate his first-round 65 as the Northern Irishman slipped three strokes off the pace.

Bubba Watson – a three-time runner-up – is three under through 36 holes after his 72, while defending champion Dustin Johnson (71) and struggling Jordan Spieth (73) are both five over and tied for 60th.

Brooks Koepka believes Patrick Reed was fully aware of his actions when he flattened out a bunker to improve his lie during the Hero World Challenge in December, saying he was "building sand castles".

Reed was penalised two strokes for his actions on the 11th hole at the Albany Golf Club in The Bahamas in December, as video footage showed him twice hacking away sand in a bunker during practice swings.

Golf's rules state that players cannot improve their ability to play a shot by "removing or pressing down sand or loose soil".

The American made a bogey but was subsequently handed a two-stroke penalty upon the completion of his round.

After accepting the penalty, Reed defended his actions, insisting he had not intended to move the sand.

However, world number one Koepka is convinced Reed knew what he was doing.

"Yeah. I don't know what he was doing, building sand castles in the sand, but you know where your club is," Koepka said in an interview on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio when asked if Reed had cheated.

"I took three months off and I can promise you I know if I touch sand. If you look at the video, obviously he grazes the sand twice and then he still chops down on it."

"It goes on a little bit more than people think," Koepka added of players improving lies.

"I haven't opened my mouth. But now if I saw it, just because of where I'm at in the game, the stature that I have, I would definitely say something."

Brendan Steele and Cameron Davis carded four-under 66s to share the Sony Open in Hawaii lead as Justin Thomas missed the cut on Friday.

American Steele and Australian Davis moved into six under at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu after the second round.

The duo hold a one-stroke lead on what is a congested leaderboard at the halfway mark of the PGA Tour event.

A group of nine players are tied for third at five under, including Keegan Bradley (66) and Cameron Smith (65).

Smith's 65 was the equal best round of the day, also managed by Russell Knox, Bo Hoag and Rob Oppenheim as they climbed into five under.

Ryan Palmer (68), Sam Ryder (68), Rory Sabbatini (67) and overnight leader Collin Morikawa (70) are also tied for third.

Thomas, the 2017 winner coming off a success at the Tournament of Champions, failed to make the weekend.

The American followed up his opening-round 72 with a one-over 71 to end up at three over and one of several bigger names to miss the cut.

Defending champion Matt Kuchar (73) and Patrick Reed (74) fell short of getting to the weekend, while 2018 winner Patton Kizzire (74) also missed the cut.

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