Aussie Adam banishes memories of Open collapse with Augusta triumph
Adam Scott has become the first Australian to win the Masters Tournament after defeating former champion Angel Cabrera at the second extra hole of a sudden death play-off.
Scott, 32, rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt to deny his Argentinean opponent, claim his first major title, and vanquish the memories of a dramatic collapse over the final four holes in last year's Open Championship at Royal Lytham.
"What an incredible day. Everything fell my way in the end," said Scott. "t was just great that everything fell into place for me, and I'm just so proud of myself and everyone around me who has helped me."
Scott's win also ended Australia's wait for a Masters winner, which he added was icing on the cake.
"We are a proud sporting country, and like to think we are the best at everything, like any proud sporting country," he said. "But you know, golf is a big sport at home. It may not be the biggest sport, but it's been a sport that's been followed with a long list of great players, and this was one thing in golf that we had not been able to achieve. So it's amazing that it's my destiny to be the first Aussie to win, just incredible."
Starting the day one shot adrift of the leaders, Cabrera and another Australian, Jason Day, Scott got off to the worst possible start with a bogey on the first hole. He got that shot back on the third but then went on to miss a succession of birdie putts, which looked as though they might prove costly.
His round turned on its head, however, on the par-5 13th when his approach narrowly made it over Rae's Creek, allowing him to get up and down for birdie. He followed that with another at the par-5 15th before rolling in a superb 20-foot birdie putt downhill and across the 18th green to set the lead in the clubhouse at nine-under-par.
With only Cabrera and a by-now beaten Brandt Snedeker the only players left on the course, Scott appeared to have one arm in the Green Jacket until a pin-point approach from 2009 champion Cabrera left him a two-foot putt to tie, which he duly converted.
Winning feeling: Scott and caddie Steve Williams react to his Masters win, as Angel Cabrera looks on
That meant that for the second year in a row, and the 17th time in total, extra holes were required to settle the tournament and, after both players parred the first of those - the par-4 18th - Scott sealed the deal on the tenth with light fading fast.
The victory was the first by an Australian in a major since Geoff Ogilvy's US Open victory in 2006 and, afterwards, Scott reserved some words of praise for his long-standing mentor, Aussie golf great Greg Norman.
"He inspired a nation of golfers, anyone near to my age, older and younger," said Scott, whose first major win came at the 48th attempt. "You know, he was the best player in the world and he was an icon in Australia. Everything about the way he handled himself was incredible to have as a role model. And just that was enough, but he's devoted so much time to myself and other young Australian players who came after him. Incredibly generous. And you know, most of us would feel that he could have slipped a green jacket on, for sure, and I said part of this is for him because he's given me so much time and inspiration and belief. I drew on that a lot today."
Cabrera, meanwhile, was left to consider what might have been. Ranked 269th in the world rankings at the start of the week, the 43-year-old was on the right end of play-off glory at Augusta National in 2009 when he held off American duo Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell to win. On this occasion, however, he had to settle for second place.
"That's how golf is," said the Argentinean. "I had that chip on 18 that I could have won it, but Adam is a good winner.
"Obviously, I would have been happy if I would have won but he's a great person and a great player. I'm happy for him."
Scott's compatriot Jason Day - runner-up to Charl Schwartzel in 2011 - had to content himself with third place this time around, with another Aussie, Marc Leishman, sharing fourth with 14-time major winner Tiger Woods.
Scotland's Paul Lawrie finished the tournament on four-over after closing with a one-under-par 71, the same score posted by 1988 winner Sandy Lyle who ended on nine-over.
Chinese 14-year-old Tianlang Guan claimed the low amateur honours on his Masters debut, ending the tournament on 12-over-par.