Great Scott wins the Masters
Australian defeats Cabrera in play-off to secure green jacket and first major title
Adam Scott of Australia is applauded as he walks off the 18th green after sinking a birdie putt. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters
One of the great unsolved mysteries of golf was finally resolved in the 77th edition of the US Masters, as - after a ding-dong battle in a final round that warmed-up on a rain-soaked back nine of the final round- an Australian player managed to become a clotheshorse for a famed green jacket, when Adam Scott claimed a play-off win over Argentina's Angel Cabrera.
"An amazing side note to a childhood dream….being the first Australian to win the masters, they might put an asterisk beside it," said Scott, who became the first Aussie to win the Masters.
For sure, it had been a true battle down the back nine of the Masters, as the championship ignited and a quintet of challengers became a quartet and then a trio and, ultimately, a duel between Cabrera and Scott after both players, minutes apart, birdied the 18th hole to force sudden death. Scott shot a closing 69 to Cabrera's 70 as both finished on 279, nine-under-par, two strokes clear of third-placed Jason Day.
On the first play-off hole, the 18th, both Scott and Cabrera found the fairway but then each saw their approaches spin back off the front fringe. Undeterred, the pair got up and down for pars, and marched on to the Par 4 10th - traditionally the toughest hole on the course - in pursuit of fame and fortune.
On the downhill 10th, the pair again found the fairway, but by different means: Scott hit driver, Cabrera - who had bogeyed earlier after hitting his drive into the trees - launched a long-iron. Again both players found the green: Cabrera 15 feet below the hole, Scott marginally closer. Cabrera's birdie putt edged past the hole, and Scott - with a putt to win the Masters - used his broomhandle putter to claim a first Major title.
The battle had intrigued on that back nine as, firstly, Day barged his way to the top of the leaderboard with a run of three successive birdies from the 13th to the 15th, at which point he moved to nine-under-par and two clear of Scott and Cabrera. But Day's quest proved fruitless, as back-to-back bogeys on the 16th and 17th, where he was bunkered on his approach, proved his undoing.
The 13th, the tail end to the famed stretch known as Amen Corner, also had a big hand in deciding who succeeded Bubba Watson as champion. There, on the Par 5, Scott - so often thwarted by the golfing gods - saw his approach hit the bank of the hazard but stay above ground as he made birdie. Some minutes later, Cabrera's approach to the hole sank to the bottom of the stream as he went for the green in two. He rescued a par, but had lost precious ground.
And then the man known as 'El Pato' - The Duck - stood his ground, as he responded with a birdie on the 16th and, on the 18th, when the roars from ahead told him of Scott's successful 12-foot birdie, the powerful Argentine - with his son Angel Junior on the bag - hit a supreme approach to the final green, the ball finishing three feet from the tin cup, and he duly rolled in the birdie to force that play-off where Scott, runner-up in last year's British Open, went on to claim his destiny
One of the more impressive charges of the final round came from Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen, who shot a closing 68 for 284, four-under-par, in his debut appearance to finish in tied-sixth.