Dustin Johnson set the all-time scoring record on his way to a dominant victory in the Masters Tournament at Augusta National.
-15 Smith, Im
-11 McIlroy, Frittelli
Johnson became the first player in history to reach 20-under-par and his total of 268 strokes bettered the 270 taken by previous record holders Tiger Woods (1997) and Jordan Spieth (2015).
Four clear heading into the final round, the world number one saw his lead cut to just one as first Sungjae Im and then Cameron Smith asked serious questions, but this time Johnson had all the answers and the game was up long before he strode down the last to applause from the limited number of people in attendance.
In winning by five shots, the first player to do so since Woods in 1997, Johnson adds a green jacket to his 2016 US Open success and confirms himself as one of the standout players of his generation, just months after he'd been taunted by compatriot Brooks Koepka for having only won one major championship.
Smith also entered the history books, becoming the first player to break 70 on all four days of the Masters, and yet he finished five behind Johnson and in a share of second place with Im. Justin Thomas took another step forward at Augusta by finishing fourth, one ahead of Rory McIlroy, who shared fifth place with Dylan Frittelli after playing beautifully over the final three rounds.
Johnson began the day as an overwhelming favourite but there were signs early on that this would not be straightforward. First, he found the fairway bunker at the first - this a day after he'd hit all 14 fairways in round three - and then a chunked pitch shot at the second saw him scrambling for par as others around him made birdie.
The American did pick up a shot at the third thanks to a curling putt, but gave that back at the fourth with a three-putt from off the front of the green, and he was over-par for the day - his lead reduced to just one - after dropping another shot at the difficult fifth.
Then came the shot that set him back on track, a precise iron onto the upper shelf at the sixth, and from the moment the birdie putt went in he looked every inch the Masters champion.
Up ahead, Smith birdied both the seventh and ninth holes, each time from the pine straw, but Johnson reduced the par-five eighth to two mighty hits for one of his own and made the turn with his lead reduced, but only to three.
When Smith bogeyed the 11th and Johnson followed him with a good par save, the stage was set for Johnson to take control of the tournament and that's exactly what he did, first by hitting the 12th green in regulation, and then with a sequence of birdies at holes 13, 14 and 15, each from relatively close range.
Smith found another miraculous birdie at the 15th after his approach flew into a crowd towards the side of the lake which guards the green, and pars at the final three holes earned the dogged Australian a different kind of reward as he became the first player to shoot four rounds in the sixties.
That was the subplot which added intrigue in the group ahead of a processional performance by Johnson, who at last afforded himself a smile after lashing another spectacular drive down the 17th fairway, pars there and at the 18th completed the job.
"It’s always tough to get it done in a major, no matter how good you’re playing it’s hard," said Johnson. "I was nervous all day. I could feel it. The Masters to me is the biggest tournament, it’s the one I wanted to win the most.
"I’m just very proud of the way I handled myself and the way I finished off the golf tournament.
"Honestly it still feels like a dream. As a kid, dreaming about winning the Masters, having Tiger put the green jacket on you, it still seems like it’s a dream but I’m here and what a great feeling it is and I couldn’t be more excited."
Rory back for more in April
McIlroy meanwhile briefly threatened to pull off something spectacular with birdies at three of his first eight holes, but any slim chance he held was extinguished by a bogey at the 10th. In the end, a first-round 75 left him with too much to do, but perhaps the sloppy mistakes towards the end of an electric third round will hurt him more.
Still, the 31-year-old was pleased with his persistence and not short of perspective as he looked back on a fifth top-10 finish in the six attempts he's had at completing a career grand slam.
"I'll look back on this week and I'll obviously rue what happened," said McIlroy. "After that I played well, I hung in there and played a really solid weekend. I wasn't really thinking about trying to win the tournament. Pleased with my performance, especially over the last three days.
"Definitely more relaxed, not as much anxiety or stress. It's been easier as well - I get home, after I play, and my attention is completely turned to something else. It's not really on golf, I can sit there and play with my daughter.
"Hopefully we get back to a normal Masters in a few months' time, and I'll try to adopt this attitude."
Johnson is now halfway to a grand slam of his own and, at the top of his game aged 36, who can say he won't yet go on to complete it. Once the nearly-man of major championships, right now he is the dominant force in world golf and, at the end of a week which began with headlines dominated by Bryson DeChambeau, this was an imperious display with a fitting, history-book ending.