Matt Fitzpatrick gets front-row seat for Jordan Spieth's shot at Masters redemption

James Corrigan
Jordan Spieth put two balls in the water at the 12th last season - AP

Matt Fitzpatrick has been handed a front-row seat for Jordan Spieth’s rematch with the 12th here on Thursday.

The 22-year-old from Sheffield will play alongside the 2015 Masters winner in the first two rounds of the 81st Masters, with his good friend Martin Kaymer, the former world No 1 from Germany, completing the group. 

And Fitzpatrick, playing in his second Masters as a professional, will find the threeball under intense scrutiny when they  reach the 155-yard par three..

Last year, Spieth walked on to the hole named “Golden Bell” with a three-shot lead, looking certain to win his second greenjacket in as many years. Yet 15 minutes later he was exiting the green having taken a quadruple-bogey seven and was suddenly two behind, with Danny Willett having birdied the 15th.

It was a deficit Spieth was never to breach - eventually finishing a in a tie for second with Lee Westwood - and so his capitulation entered golf’s annals of notorious collapses and ever since the 23-year-old Texan  has been trying to play down its significance. At 22, Fitzpatrick will relish being in such a high-profile pairing.

Matt Fitzpatrick is playing in his second Masters Credit: EPA

However, the highest-quality three-ball is going out last. Dustin Johnson, the world No 1 and reigning US Open champion, will play with Bubba Watson, the two-time Masters winner, and another US Ryder Cup teammate in Jimmy Walker, who lifted the USPGA title last year.

Rory McIlroy will start his bid to become the sixth player to complete the career grand slam at 1.41pm in the company of Spain's Jon Rahm and Japan's Hideto Tanihara. And defending champion Danny Willett, who is looking to join Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo in winning back-to-back titles, gets his campaign under way at 12.24pm alongside Matt Kuchar and Australian amateur Curtis Luck.

Ireland’s  Shane Lowry will play alongside Sergio Garcia and Westwood, while Tyrrell Hatton, the world No 15 from Wycombe, goes out on his debut with the world No 5 Henrik Stenson and former champion Angel Cabrera.

Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus will act as honorary starters at 7.40am, with the Masters green-jackets opting not to bring in a replacement for the late Arnold Palmer, who performed the role from 2007-2016 before his death last September.

American Russell Henley, who was the last man into the event by virtue of his victory in the Shell Houston Open on Sunday, is in the first group out in the tournament proper at 8am alongside compatriot Daniel Summerhays.

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