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Posted March 23, 2012 08:03 pm |

1980: Seve Ballesteros becomes youngest Masters champ

  • Article Photos
    1980: Seve Ballesteros becomes youngest Masters champ
    Photos description
    Ballesteros
  • Article Photos
    1980: Seve Ballesteros becomes youngest Masters champ
    Photos description
    Front Page of The Augusta Chronicle after the 1980 Masters Tournament

Seventeen years after Jack Nicklaus became the youngest Masters winner - and 17 years before Tiger Woods' record-setting performance at age 21 - there was Seve Ballesteros.

The 23-year-old Spaniard strolled to victory, supplanting Nicklaus as the youngest champion. He also became the second international champion and the first from Europe to don a green jacket.

Ballesteros grabbed the tournament by the throat with an opening 66 and never trailed after sharing the opening-round lead with David Graham and newcomer Jeff Mitchell. Rounds of 69 and 68 gave him a commanding lead with 18 to go.

With a 10-shot lead with nine holes to play, he needed just 34 to break the 72-hole scoring record. But Ballesteros stumbled. He found the water on Nos. 12 and 13, but he recovered with a birdie at the 15th. He held on for a four-stroke victory over Gibby Gilbert and Jack Newton.

Even though he failed to set marks for total score or margin of victory, Ballesteros held the record for youngest winner until Woods set the standard in 1997.

"I was comfortable - 10 shots is a lot," Ballesteros said after the round. "Then I was uncomfortable. I'm in trouble. I was thinking I was about to lose the tournament. I say I must try hard and, finally, I started playing well."
 

1980 Masters

 PlayerFR1R2R3R4 Earn.
1Seve Ballesteros-1366696872 $55,000
2Gibby Gilbert-970746867 $30,500
2Jack Newton-968746968 $30,500
4Hubert Green-868747167 $15,750
5David Graham-766737270 $13,200
6Ben Crenshaw-576706869 $9,958
6Ed Fiori-571706973 $9,958
6Tom Kite-569717469 $9,958
6Larry Nelson-569727369 $9,958
6Jerry Pate-572687667 $9,958
6Gary Player-571717170 $9,958