Gary "Bubba" Watson hit one of the greatest recovery shots in Masters history and won his first major championship with a par on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff with Louis Oosthuizen.
Watson found himself trapped in the woods on the 10th hole at Augusta National, the second of his playoff with Oosthuizen. He took a wedge, hooked it 40 yards and the astonished gallery looked on as the ball landed on the green and settled 12 feet from the hole.
Oosthuizen was just short of the green in two and chipped well past the hole to the back fringe. From there, his par putt broke off at the last second and left the door open for Watson, who two-putted to win the coveted Green Jacket.
Both players finished regulation play at 10-under-par, 278. Watson shot 68, Oosthuizen a 69 that included one of the most historic shots ever recorded at the Masters.
On the par five second hole, Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, hit a four-iron from 253 yards for his second shot and watched as it landed on the left corner of the green then rolled 150 feet across the putting surface, eventually falling into the hole for a double-eagle.
It was only the fourth in Masters history and the first-ever on the second hole and the first recorded on national television. At that point, it boosted Oosthuizen to 10-under par and he would control the action for most of the day.
Watson caught him with a run of four birdies in a row, starting at the 13th hole. By the time he holed a seven-footer at the 16th, he reached 10-under to tie Oosthuizen.
After pars at the 17th, both players had putts that would have won the tournament at the 72nd hole. Oosthuizen narrowly missed his birdie bid from 14 feet then watched as Watson misread the eight-footer that would have won it outright for him.
The playoff started at 18 where both made pars then came the 10th, where Watson pulled off his miracle recovery that won the tournament.
"I was in nearly the same place earlier," Watson said after 2011 champion Charl Schwatzel slipped the Green Jacket on him. "I had to hook it probably 40 yards and somehow it nuzzled in there close.
"I never got this far in my dreams," Watson said with tears in his eyes. "After my playing partner (Oosthuizen) makes double-eagle at two. I just kept my head down, I knew there were some birdies on the back nine."
Both Watson and Oosthuizen took advantage of overnight leader Peter Hanson's nervous start that saw him bogey two of the first three holes. Phil Mickelson, looking for his fourth Masters title, was in the last group with Hanson and mortally wounded his chances when he took a triple bogey six at the par three fourth hole.
"I hit the rail on the stands and it bounced back into a nearly unplayable lie," said Mickelson, whose ball landed in the woods in a strand of bamboo.
Mickelson turned his club over and took a swing right-handed and barely moved it, then took another and advanced his ball just short of a greenside bunker. His fourth didn't clear the bunker then his sand shot stopped two feet away and he tapped in for the crippling triple.
"I had a lot of chances on the back nine. I had my chances. I just couldn't quite get it done," Mickelson lamented as he closed with an even-par round of 72 and finished in a tie for third with Lee Westwood (68),l Matt Kuchar (69), and his playing partner Hanson, who shot 73.
Oosthuizen stayed in front of his challengers on the firepower from his double-eagle. He was eight-under going to the back nine and birdied both the par fives but saw Watson tie him with his birdie run.
In the end, it was Watson coming up with the big shot. "It was a great day, we had a lot of fun," Oosthuizen said as he headed back to the clubhouse after the playoff. "He hit an unbelievable shot there. He was very deserving."
Watson, his eyes full of tears, stood with the jacket on and simply said as he smiled: "It's nice."
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