Sunday, April 8, 2012

2012 Masters Tournament Final Day and Recap

Wow, what a final round!  This is what I have come to expect from Augusta and the back 9 at the Masters.  I really did not know who was going to win until the final shot was struck.  Heck, there were 6 or more players with a shot on the back nine!  Shots were being made everywhere, and ultimately the two players with the best final rounds entered the playoff.

And it all started right away.  Out of each of the final 4 or 5 groups, at least one bogey was made on the first hole.  The first played very difficult this year for some reason.  And then came the second.  Louis Oosthuizen made only the 4th Albatross in Masters history and the first on hole 2.  260 with a 4 iron to go from -7 to -10 and in the lead by 2.  Bubba Watson was able to birdie the 2nd after a tough sand shot.  Oosthuizen parred the 3rd and then bogeyed the 4th after a fanned shot short of the bunker.  When the final group made it to 4, Phil Mickelson hit a sliced iron shot off the patron observation deck and into bamboo and bushes left of the green.  He ended up making triple bogey on the hole.  The rest of the front nine was pretty innocuous, with few birdies or bogeys being made.  But by this time, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood, and Matt Kuchar had entered the race to win.

As the groups made the turn, Oosthuizen entered the back nine with the lead; however, he made a bogey at 10, which was almost a forshadowing of what was to come later.  Birdies were made on the par 5s by Oosthuizen, Mickelson, Watson, and Kuchar made an eagle at 15 to pull even with Oosthuizen.  By this time, Lee Westwood was finishing up with some birdies on the back nine, and finished with a score of 8-under 280 for the week.  The clubhouse lead was set, and now he just needed to wait.  On 16, Kuchar mishit his tee ball and ended up long right over the green, almost near the spot of Tiger's chip-in in 2005.  But Kuchar was unable to get up-and-down, and made bogey 4 to drop back to -8.  Oosthuizen and Watson at this time were both making birdie at 15, and both hit solid shots at 16, where Bubba hit his to 8 feet.  Mickelson reached the 15th down 3 strokes to Oosthuizen's 10-under.

Bubba rolled in his birdie at 16, which Oosthuizen was unable to match.  Kuchar finished the back nine with 2 straight pars and tied Westwood in the clubhouse at 8 under.  Mickelson birdied 15, but was unable to mount a charge and parred hole 16.  On hole 17, both Watson and Oosthuisen were wild off the tee.  Bubba was able to get on the green, but two putted for par, while Oosthuizen got up-and-down for par.  Both players reached the 18th hole at 10 under, and hit beautiful drives.  Oosthuizen's approach finished 30 feet long on top of a ridge, and Bubba had about 18 feet hole high to the right.  Oosthuizen ran his putt 5 feet by, and Bubba hit his to tap in range.  But Oosthuizen, like he had done all round, sank the putt and shared the clubhouse lead at 10 under with Watson.  Now, all the two had to do was wait to see if Phil or 54 hole leader Peter Hanson would match them.

Hanson missed a short birdie at 16, but finished with one at 18 to join the tie for 3rd place at 8 under.  His final round 73 was not enough.  Phil had it to 8 under through 16, but was unable to birdie either 17 or 18 and he also finished at 8 under.  An even par round was all he could muster after the triple at 4.

So Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen began a sudden death playoff at 18.  Both players drilled tee shots down the middle again, and hit solid approaches about 15 feet hole high.  Oosthuizen had the first chance, and hit a perfect putt, but somehow it stayed out of the hole.  Bubba then hit his putt, but misread it.  They were headed to #10 and playoff hole 2.  Off the tee, Bubba hit driver way right, so Oosthuizen went to 3-wood for accuracy.  But that did not pay off and he wildly flung a slice to the right.  It ricocheted off a tree and dropped in the fairway at 230 out.  He played safe, thinking Bubba was in trouble, and got his 2nd to just in front of the green.  However, Bubba had one trick left up his sleeve.  From the pinestraw right, he had about 155 in, and hit a 45 yard hook with a wedge to 15 feet under the hole.  Now Oosthuizen had to get up and down, which he failed to do when his chip stopped 15 feet above the hole.  He missed the par putt, which gave Bubba 2 putts to win, which he did with ease.

Bubba won his first major in the playoff, a couple weeks after adopting his first child.  This was Oosthuizen's first cut made at Augusta.  Phil played the last 36 bogey-free, and only had the triple on 4.  Phil made 2 triple-bogeys this week.  Patrick Cantlay shot even-par 72 with an eagle and 2 birdies on the final 6 holes to win low-amateur.  Tiger Woods failed to break par and had his worst finish as a pro at Augusta.  2 hole-in-ones were made at 16: Bo Van Pelt and Adam Scott.  Van Pelt finished with the low round of the tournament of 8-under 64.

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