Last Updated: 14/04/14 12:08pm
Bubba Watson recovered from his day three setbacks to claim a second Masters title in just three years.
Jordan Spieth had threatened to rewrite the record books and become the youngest Masters champion with an early birdie blitz.
However Watson pounced as Spieth stuttered, eventually finishing three shots clear of the 20-year-old and Jonas Blixt.
Mark Roe, Paul McGinley and Colin Montgomerie discuss the last day of the 2014 Masters tournament as Bubba Watson produced a brilliant finish to hold off the challenge of Jordan Spieth and Jonas Blixt. The 20-year-old Spieth earned special praise from McGinley, who said: “This guy’s here for the long term and there’s definitely some major championships in him,” while Miguel Angel Jimenez’s fourth-placed finish was described as “sensational” by Roe. Montgomerie, though, apologised “wholeheartedly” for claiming Watson had no chance of winning the Masters.
Watson’s triumph might have been the headline story from Augusta however that didn’t stop a number of other players producing some magic. Jordan Spieth might have had to settle for a share of second, but he showed his undoubted talent with a stunning bunker shot at the sixth hole. A moment of brilliance on the ninth from Rickie Fowler, Mike Weir’s chip and Louis Oosthuizen are among the other players to feature in a fine collection of shots from the final 18 holes of the Masters.
Watson might have joined the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Nick Faldo, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in winning a second green jacket, however he was refusing to get carried away by his success. The 35-year-old left-hander said. "I'm trying to play golf for a living. I'm not trying to play golf for everybody to tell me how great I am or I'm one of the greats of the game. I play golf because I love it. I love the game, I want to grow the game. The game has brought me everything that I've ever owned in my life."
The American was left to wonder what could have been after leading the Masters by two shots with 12 holes left to play. Spieth had looked set to become the youngest champion at Augusta as he surged into an early lead but three dropped in five holes derailed his challenge. "Ultimately it stings because I had it to eight-under and felt very comfortable sitting on a par-five ready to push forward,” he said. “But it wasn't my day and obviously the way Bubba played it was going to be very difficult to beat him anyway. I'm very happy for him.”
A closing round of 69 wasn’t enough for Rory McIlroy to mount a serious challenge, with the Northern Irishman's second round of 77 leaving him with too much do. However it was an indication that McIlroy is heading back to his major-winning form. He said: "I'm going to look back at what might have been, the signs are there that my game is there from tee to green, if I can just convert some of the chances I'm giving myself my season looks like it could be a really good one."
Jonas Blixt was pleased with his Augusta performance, with the Swede claiming a share of second with Spieth. Blixt might have not have seriously challenged for the lead as he ground out 15 pars, but he admitted: "I'm kind of lost for words here. It was a great day. I played decently, hit my driver a lot better, just didn't get my approaches as close as I wanted and didn't give myself enough opportunities to make birdies. Overall a decent round and when you shoot under par at Augusta National on a Sunday, you should be pretty happy.”
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