Bubba wins the Masters, second edition

Bubba Watson again proved just how good his particular brand of golf is, and how much Augusta National suits him, when he won the Masters for the second time in three years on Sunday.

 

Emotions spilled forth from the tall Florida local after he sank the final putt to win by three shots over Jordan Spieth and Sweden’s Jonas Blixt. Both runners-up were on debut.

 

“It's a dream to be on the PGA TOUR,” said Watson, who totalled eight-under-par for the week. “It's a dream to win, and winning any tournament is a big deal.  Winning the green jacket is a little bit bigger deal.  So, yeah, I'm going to cry, because why me?  Why Bubba Watson from Bagdad, Florida? It’s truly a blessing.”

 

Watson began the final round tied for the lead with Spieth, a Tiger-like 20-year-old who was on course to make history as the youngest-ever Masters winner.

 

It’s all about the back nine on Sunday, except for this Sunday when it as about the front nine. Spieth birdied the sixth and seventh to move two shots ahead, but two holes and 20 minutes later there had been a four-shot swing. The young star missed par putts within six feet at the eighth and ninth while Watson drilled home two birdies at the same holes. And then it was Watson leading by two as the final match entered the stretch.

 

“I hit two great shots on eight,” said Watson. “Eight and nine were really the turning point where momentum kind of went my way.”

 

It was a tactical display by the newly jacketed champion, who flushed his pink driver with surgical precision and still outdrove his younger playing partner, often by over 20 metres. That length off the tee enabled the soon-to-be 2014 Masters champion to take good lines into the tough Sunday pins.

 

Watson lost his feel for the greens at Augusta on Saturday and still managed to shoot 74, yet by the final round he had rediscovered the touch. Crucial putts dropped for the 35-year-old and good scoring followed as he turned in 33 to leave his competitors wondering what more they could do.

 

The only time a door opened was at the 10th, where Watson went wide right of the green and failed to up-and-down for par, reducing his lead to two shots. That was the last time the left-hander would give his competitors a look at victory.

 

Spieth began Amen Corner with a bogey after his tee shot at the 12th hit the steep ridge short of the green and rolled into the creek. He kept the rest of the round in regulation and finished in 72 shots for a five-under-par total.

 

By contrast, Watson putted from off the 12th green and got his ball to within three feet before sinking the short putt to save par. On the 13th he found the green in two and had a view at eagle from 30-feet. The eagle putt didn’t drop, but the birdie putt did and Watson moved back into a three-shot lead, which he carried all the way through to a second major title.

 

“Having a three-shot lead, as long as my playing partner didn't hole it from the fairway, I was very comfortable,” he said after comparing this year’s victory to his playoff win over Louis Oosthuizen in 2012.

 

Blixt was the European hope at Augusta and did his utmost to reel in the Americans. Scoring at Augusta is about picking the perfect lines, both off the tee and on the greens. The Swede managed to play superb approaches and thus had plenty of chances, but his putts slid by too often. A final-round 71 was the outcome for Blixt, who will be elated with that kind of debut performance at the Masters.

 

But the day belonged to Bubba Watson, the man who’s never had a professional golfing lesson and has won the Masters. Twice.

 

“Yeah, it's overwhelming, you know, to win twice, to be with the great names…  small‑town guy named Bubba now has two green jackets, it's pretty wild,” he said.

 

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