Bubba Watson donned his second green jacket in three years at Augusta this morning, eventually overpowering two rookies Jordan Spieth and Jonas Blixt by three shots.
But the big bloke with the booming drives didn’t have it all his own way on the outward nine, allowing Spieth to open up a two-shot lead after only three holes.
But Watson hung in there, with the eighth and ninth holes the critical turning point.
Spieth bogeyed both, Watson birdied both, and the four-shot swing was the telling factor.
Watson lifted, Spieth wilted, and after the 13th it was Watson by three for game, set, and match.
But there’s a bright future for both American Spieth and Swede Blixt, both pure strikers of the ball, with putting to match.
Special salutes to Miguel Angel Jiminez and Bernard Langer.
Jiminez, 50 years young, shot 71-76-66-71 to finish alone in fourth, while Langer (56), carded 72-74-73-69 to finish even par in equal eighth.
In the end the Masters leaderboard read:
Bubba Watson – 8-under.
Jordan Spieth – 5-under
Jonas Blixt – 5-under.
Miguel Angel Jiminez – 4-under.
Ricky Fowler – 2-under.
Matt Kuchar – 2-under.
Lee Westwood –1 under.
The seven were the only golfers in the weekend field of 51 who broke par for the 72-hole journey.
Five Australians qualified for the weekend – John Senden finished with 73 to be even for the tournament, defending champion Adam Scott a 72 to be 1-over, Jason Day a 72 to be 2-over, Steve Bowditch a 72 to be 4-over, and amateur Oliver Goss a 75 to be 10-over.
But Goss took out the amateur section as the only one to make the cut. The 20-year-old from Perth no faces the decision around which way he wants to go from here, remain amateur, or turn pro.
As he said after the tournament, there’s no hurry in the decision-making process.
The disappointment was defending champion Adam Scott.
He had been playing so well leading into his defence, and starting with a 69.
But the 72-76-72 to follow were unlike the Scott of the past year. At Augusta Scott carded 15 birdies over the four rounds, but let himself down with 12 bogeys, and two doubles.
Watson carded 15 birdies as well, but also had an eagle and only nine bogeys.
For the omen punters, Spieth not winning has broken an extraordinary sequence.
In 1963, Jack Nicklaus became the youngest Masters champion.
In 1980, 17 years later, Seve Ballesteros became the youngest.
In 1997, 17 years later, Tiger Woods took over as the youngest.
So it was all set up at the weekend, 17 years later, for Jordan Spieth to become the youngest. He went so close.
But the right man won. Congratulations to Bubba Watson, a very worthy champion.