Masters: It’s Bubba!

In the end, it was Bubba.

The power, the imagination, and the ability to hang tough when the 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen was striding away to his second major championship was enough to win Bubba Watson the Masters.

He made four straight birdies on the back nine to get into a playoff with Oosthuizen, and, finally, a Bubba shot of breathtaking brilliance from the kind of trouble weekend warriors get into and take three shots to escape.

He hooked a wedge off a tight lie through a corridor of trees to inside 10 feet on the 10th at Augusta National on the second hole of a sudden death playoff after the pair had finished locked together on 10-under-par after regulation.

And, in a round during which Oosthuizen made albatross two on the second – it was the first on that hole and only the fourth time it has been achieved at the Masters – it took an even more spectacular shot to wrest the title from the South African.

But first, it took patience: “I just kept my head down,” said Watson before the 2011 champion Charl Schwartzel slipped the green jacket onto Watson’s shoulders. “I knew I could make birdies down the back nine, so I just kept grinding it out.”

Oosthuizen’s albatross should have been a killer blow to the challenge of everyone else, but bogeys on four and 10 kept his pursuers interested all the way home, and when Watson made birdies on 13, 13, 15 and 16, it was clear the finish was going to be exceptionally tight.

Oosthuizen’s putting kept his nose in front as the likes of Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar made determined runs at the lead: He made three critical eight-to-10-footers for par on three, six and 14.

Eventually, though, putts from that kind of distance become too difficult and, on greens like those at Augusta National, some are going to miss.

Oosthuizen shaved the hole for birdie on the first playoff hole, and did the same from par on the second, leaving Watson with two putts for the green jacket.

He obliged.

Oosthuizen, visibly disappointed, was nonetheless gracious: “I had a great day,” he said, “and we had a lot of fun out there.

“I had an opportunity on 10 in the playoff, but I hit a bad shot, and he hit an unbelievable shot. So it’s not like I played badly.”

Said Watson of that unbelievable shot: “I had to hook it 40 yards, but I had quite a good lie.”

Hooking a wedge like that is something that most players will not even imagine, but the self-taught and uncoached Watson is unafraid to try stuff like that.

It won him the Masters. “I never got this far in my dreams,” said an emotional Watson.

And, in an aside, the likes of which endears him to fans all over the world, he said to Schwartzel as he felt the green jacket on his shoulders, “I look like you now.”

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