WASHINGTON — Jordan Spieth became the youngest player to lead The Masters after the first round on Thursday.
At 21 years, 8 months and two weeks old, Spieth would be the second youngest golfer, however, to win the tournament if he is to go wire to wire.
Here are the youngest golfers to win in 79 years of The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.
Tiger Woods (21 years, 3 months)
In 1997, Tiger Woods, eight months after turning professional, had his coming out party at The Masters.
Woods trailed John Huston — who led with a 67 – by three strokes after the first day. Over the final three days, Woods would storm back and absolutely bury the field – posting rounds of 66, 65 and 69 – to win his first major championship by a whopping 12 strokes (-18). Huston tied for 21st at one over par.
Seve Ballesteros (23 years, 4 days)
In 1980, Seve Ballesteros gave himself the ultimate belated birthday gift — albeit only 4 days late — by becoming the youngest, and first European (Spain), golfer to win The Masters.
He would find himself in a three-way tie for the lead (66) after the first day. Posting scores of 69, 68 and 72 over the next three rounds, Ballesteros would celebrate his second major championship – he won The British Open the year before – winning The Masters by four strokes (-13).
Jack Nicklaus (23 years, 2 months, 17 days)
In 1963, after the first round of The Masters, it didn’t look as though 23-year-old Jack Nicklaus stood a chance to win his second major championship, trailing leaders Bo Winiger and Mike Souchak (69) by five strokes in a field which boasted eight former green jacket winners. The Golden Bear would rally – posting scores of 66, 74 and 72 over the next three days – to hold off the field and become the youngest Masters winner of his time, for his second of 18 career majors.
Byron Nelson (25 years, 2 months)
In 1937, the fourth year of The Masters Tournament, 24-year-old Byron Nelson led the field after the first day (66), with a four-stroke lead over the second-lowest scorer. He would relinquish the lead in the course of the next two rounds, trailing Ralph Guldahl (-7) and Ed Dudley (-4), sitting at 3 under par heading into the final day. Nelson would ultimately beat Guldahl by two strokes (-5) to finish the tournament, its youngest winner to date.
In the inaugural Masters Tournament in 1934, Horton Smith, by default, became the youngest winner of the tournament at 25 years and 10 months. Still a notable accomplishment, considering when Byron Nelson won the tournament three years later, Nelson was only 8 months younger than Smith when he first won it — and a younger golfer would not win the tournament for another 26 years (see Jack Nicklaus above).
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