Scott makes history at Augusta

A speech by the Prime Minister of Australia was interrupted for an update from Augusta National on Sunday night – Adam Scott was the 77th Masters champion and the first Aussie to don a green jacket.

“What an incredible day,” Scott said after finally getting a chance to catch his breath. “Everything fell my way in the end and it’s amazing that it’s my destiny to be the first Aussie to win.”

There’s a memory Scott will never forget, when he bogeyed the last four holes at the 2012 Open Championship to lose by one stroke to Ernie Els. “Next time — I’m sure there will be a next time — I can do a better job of it,” Scott said that day.

Now there’s another memory the 34-year-old will never forget – the day he birdied the second playoff hole at the 2013 Masters to beat Angel Cabrera.

On Sunday Scott drained a 12-footer on the 18th to finish regulation play at nine-under-par for the tournament. That left Cabrera needing to force a playoff, but the Argentinian came to the party, hitting his seven-iron to three feet and tapping in to score, which meant for the first time two players birdied the 18th at Augusta to make it into a playoff.

“On 18, for a split second, I let myself think I could have won,” said Scott. “ Might have showed that when it went in. But you know, I got to see Angel hit an incredible shot from the scorer’s area, and then it was try to get myself ready to play some more holes.”

The first playoff hole was 18, and both players made par, so on to the 10th for the second playoff hole. Scott was pumped by the crowds, and rose to the occasion. Both payers made the green with a putt for birdie in hand, but once Cabrera’s putt died just right of the hole it fell to Scott to seal the deal. He took the line from his caddie Steve Williams and stroked the ball. And the rest is history.

“I think going down the 10th fairway was almost deafening, and the crowd wasn’t close. It was a great feeling, and again, I felt like they were really, really pulling for me out there,” said the Australian.

South Africa was the second-best represented country at The Masters this year, and of the eight players competing six made the cut. Tim Clark led the local front, thanks largely to a Saturday 67, and finished tied 11th on a two-under-par total.

A stroke back was Ernie Els, who snatched victory from Scott at The Open last year. The Big Easy carded a Sunday 69 to move 15 places up the leaderboard and take home a share of 13th.

The most promising result from the SA boys was a tied-18th finish by Branden Grace. The four-time European Tour champion’s result doesn’t truly reflect how deep he had to dig after shooting 78 during the first round.

The 24-year-old fought his way back to the cut with a Friday 70, shot a Saturday 71 and the capped off an exceptional first trip to Augusta with a Sunday 69. He finished level-par for the tournament and shared 18th with Sweden’s Henrik Stenson.

Richard Sterne and Charl Schwartzel shared 25th on two-over-par, while Trevor Immelman tied for 50th on seven-over.

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