Bubba Watson wins title with amazing shot from the woods
AUGUSTA, Ga. — It got going with a historic shot.
It ended with another.
Bubba Watson hit a miraculous hook shot from the pine straw on the 10th hole Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club and parred the second playoff hole to beat Louis Oosthuizen and win the Masters.
Watson, a former University of Georgia standout, earned his first major championship with a two-putt par on the par-4 10th hole after Oosthuizen missed a lengthy par putt that could have sent the two to a third playoff hole.
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Watson immediately began weeping in the arms of his caddie and later those of his mother on the 10th green. A few of his contemporaries on the PGA Tour greeted him minutes after the winning putt.
“I’ve never had a dream go this far, so I can’t really say it’s a dream come true,” Watson said. “I don’t even know what happened on the back nine. … Nervous on every shot, every putt. Went into a playoff. I got in these trees and hit a crazy shot that I saw in my head, and somehow I’m here talking to you with a green jacket on.”
Watson had a final-round 4-under-par 68 and finished at 10 under. Oosthuizen shot a 69 in the final round.
Four players — Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar and Peter Hanson — finished two shots out of the playoff.
Those four lost hope of winning when Watson drained four consecutive birdies on the second nine with the run culminating in his short birdie putt on No. 16 to forge a tie with Oosthuizen, who made just the fourth double-eagle in Masters history earlier in the final round.
But Watson’s second shot on the 10th hole in the playoff might be the one woven into Masters lore.
The left-hander sliced his tee shot into the trees. He had hit the shot in a similar spot earlier Sunday, and he said he had an idea of what he would need to pull off to land the ball on the green.
“The first time I ever worked with my caddie, (Ted Scott), six years ago, I told him, I said, ‘If I have a swing, I’ve got a shot,’ ” Watson said. “So I’m used to the woods. I’m used to the rough.”
Watson noticed the gap in the trees that he’d need to pierce as he walked toward the gallery that had already cut a path to the 10th green. Bunkers guard the front and right side of the hole named Camellia, and Watson needed to hook his wedge shot about 40 yards from left to right to get it to the hole.
Oosthuizen also found the trees right on No. 10, but he got a favorable bounce with the ball coming out onto the second cut of rough. He was more than 200 yards away from the uphill green, and he missed short.
Watson found no such problems, cutting his wedge through the air to about 12 feet below the cup.
“Where I stood when the ball came out, it looked like a curveball going to the right,” Oosthuizen said. “So I knew he had to hit a big hook. An unbelievable shot. … That shot he hit definitely won him the tournament.”
Oosthuizen chipped past the hole and just missed his par putt coming back. Watson hit his birdie putt to less than a foot, but he paused and motioned for the crowd to settle down before stepping to the putt. He said he thought of I.K. Kim, who missed a 1-foot putt on the final hole that cost her a LPGA major a week ago Sunday, and he took his time to make sure he measured the short putt and then tapped it in.
Playing together all day, both Oosthuizen and Watson found the 18th green in regulation and on the first playoff hole, and Watson had better looks at birdie both times. Oosthuizen just missed his birdie chances, failing to place more pressure on Watson, who in turn missed his first two chances to win.
“No putt on these greens are easy,” Oosthuizen said.
Oosthuizen owned the first part of the final round with his memorable double-eagle.
The South African holed out on the par-5 second hole from 253 yards away with a 4-iron for the rare albatross. Oosthuizen’s double-eagle was the first on that hole in Masters history, and it was just the fourth double-eagle in tournament history and the first since 1994.
It looked for most of the day like that double-eagle would push Oosthuizen to the green jacket, as well. He took a two-shot lead following that shot as part of a four-shot swing when 54-hole leader Peter Hanson bogeyed the first hole.
Oosthuizen led for much of the day, from the shot on No. 2 until he was standing on the 15th fairway when Kuchar made an eagle putt to tie for the lead. Kuchar stayed in the lead for mere minutes thanks to a bogey on the 16th hole.
Watson, meanwhile, used the 16th hole to jump to the top of the leaderboard with an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-3 hole.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
|After the final round at Augusta National, par 72|
|x-Bubba Watson||69-71-70-68 — 278||-10|
|Louis Oosthuizen||68-72-69-69 — 278||-10|
|Peter Hanson||68-74-65-73 — 280||-8|
|Matt Kuchar||71-70-70-69 — 280||-8|
|Phil Mickelson||74-68-66-72 — 280||-8|
|Lee Westwood||67-73-72-68 — 280||-8|
|Fred Couples||72-67-75-72 — 286||-2|
|Rory McIlroy||71-69-77-76 — 293||+5|
|Tiger Woods||72-75-72-74 — 293||+5|
|x-won on second playoff hole|