Danny Willett described it as a “crazy, crazy spell” after the new dad became the first European to become Masters champion in nearly 20 years.
The 28-year-old from Sheffield joined three-time champion Nick Faldo as the only Englishman to own a Green Jacket after a dramatic final round at Augusta National.
Defending champion Jordan Spieth held a five-shot lead with nine holes to play before following back-to-back dropped shots with a quadruple-bogey 7 at the short 12th.
Willett suddenly found himself in front and grabbed his big chance with a flawless five-under-par 67 to win by three shots from Spieth (73) and compatriot Lee Westwood (69).
Europe’s first winner here since Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal in 1999 feared earlier in the year that he’d have to skip the event.
His wife, Nicole, had been due to give birth to the couple’s first child on the day of the final round but son Zachariah arrived 12 days early.
“Talk about fate,” said an elated Willett after showing some good old Sheffield steel to come from three shots behind to claim his first major victory. “It’s just been a crazy, crazy spell and I can’t describe my emotions and feelings.
“Fortunately it was my day today. It was tough as every time I made a birdie on the front nine, Jordan pulled ahead. It was a case of trying to dig in.
“It was a very surreal day when you look back at the ebbs and flows. I managed to hole a few putts at the right time. To win by three shots is pretty special and it’s not sunk in yet.”
The victory, which came in just his second appearance in the first major of the season, will lift Willett to No 9 in the world. It also earned him a $1.8 million pay-day.
Willett had been dressed from head-to-toe in white all day before removing his sweater to reveal a green-coloured polo shirt in between his final two putts of the day. “I was warm is the genuine reason,” he said of that, before adding with a smile: “Plus I thought green looked better than white.”
Spieth looked white with shock after letting a place in the Augusta National history books slip from his grasp, not to mention a third major title.
“It is tough, really tough,” admitted the 22-year-old, who was left shell-shocked by the damaging three-hole run that deprived him becoming the second youngest double winner here.
“That was a tough 30 minutes that I want to make sure I never experience again,” he added. “I allowed myself to go away from the gameplan we had on the front nine and made three weak swings in a row.
“The one at the 12th was a bad one at the wrong time. But I should have gone to the drop zone (rather than dropping it on the 13th fairway) where I knew the yardage.
“We just compounded mistakes through a lack of discipline and I’m quite sure I’m going to be disappointed by what happened out there.”