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Masters 2009

Augusta - 9-12 April, 2009




FINAL ROUND LEADERBOARD (US unless stated):
-13 A Cabrera*, C Campbell, K Perry -10 S Katayama (Jap) -9 P Mickelson
* Cabrera won in a play-off

Angel Cabrera

Highlights - Final round of Masters

By David Ornstein

Argentina's Angel Cabrera beat Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell in a play-off to win the 73rd Masters at Augusta.

Perry, 48, looked a certain winner following a birdie at 16, but his game deserted him and he bogeyed each of the last two holes to finish on 12 under.

With Campbell (69) eliminated at the first extra hole, Cabrera (71) parred the second, the 10th, to win - after a wild approach from Perry (71).

The 39-year-old adds a Green Jacket to his 2007 US Open triumph at Oakmont.

He helped provide a gripping end to a sensational day of golf that had earlier been dominated by world numbers one and two Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

606: DEBATE

The Americans, paired together in the final round of a major for the first time in eight years, began the day seven shots off the lead on four under but launched thrilling surges up the leaderboard before Mickelson (67) ended nine under and Woods (68) eight under.

Yet the day belonged to Cabrera, who at 69 in the world becomes the lowest-ranked Masters champion since the world rankings began in 1986.

"I'm so emotional I can barely talk. This moment, and the win in Oakmont, are the greatest moments of my life," he said through an interpreter.

"It's incredible. I still can't believe it. I felt that when Tiger and Phil were making birdies and were making a move, I had to make a move myself in order to be the winner.

"This is a great moment for any golfer, to win the Masters."

Cabrera's triumph arrived 41 years after his compatriot Roberto de Vicenzo had become one of the unluckiest losers in a major.

De Vicenzo was gearing up for a play-off against American Bob Goalby but signed for a four on the 17th when he had actually taken three. The rules stated that he had to accept the higher score and he is forever listed as a Masters runner-up.

Kenny Perry

Highlights - Perry birdies the 16th

Cabrera looked like finishing in the same position before Perry - bidding to eclipse 1968 PGA winner Julius Boros as the oldest major champion - lost his way.

It brought back memories of Perry's finish at the 1996 PGA, when he was two ahead with one to play but carded a closing bogey six and lost to Mark Brooks in the play-off.

"I played beautifully all the way to the 17th - I was in control," said Perry. "It just seems like when I get down to those deals, I can't seem to execute.

"Great players make it happen, and your average players don't. I just didn't get the job done again, and I'll look back the rest of my life saying what could have been.

"But I'm not really going to go there because if this is the worst thing that happens in my life, my life's pretty good."

Japan's Shingo Katayama finished fourth, Mickelson fifth and Woods joint sixth with fellow Americans Steve Flesch, Steve Stricker and John Merrick.

In their worst collective showing since 2000, no European finished in the top 16. Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell was the best placed in joint 17th after a final-round 69 put him four under overall.

Woods and Mickelson had earlier served up a classic head-to-head duel but, with both players one off the lead after 16 holes, they let errors creep into their games and gave their rivals some breathing space.

Woods bogeyed the last two but a victory over his closest rival will be of little comfort to Mickelson, who blundered at crucial moments.

Phil Mickelson

Highlights - Mickelson's amazing shot on the 7th

"I don't think we were really paying much attention to what the other was doing," said Mickelson. "We were both more concerned about trying to make birdies to catch the leaders than what each other was doing."

The 2004 and 2006 champion, who went out in a Masters record-equalling 30 that had the galleries whooping with delight, made a double-bogey five at the 155-yard 12th after finding water off the tee.

Mickelson two-putted the 13th to keep his hopes alive and had an opportunity for eagle at 15 that would have given him a share of the lead, but he missed.

Woods was in the hunt for a fifth Green Jacket in his first major since the 2008 US Open following knee surgery, but he bogeyed the final two holes and Mickelson the last as both players saw their bid for glory fade away.

"I fought my swing all day and almost won the tournament with a band-aided swing," said Woods. "I was just terrible. I didn't know what was going on."

The attention shifted to Perry, Campbell and Cabrera, and the trio in turn provided a scintillating climax.

Perry, joint overnight leader with Cabrera, parred the first 11 holes, before sinking a 30-foot putt for birdie from the fringe of the short 12th.

Tiger Woods

Highlights - Woods eagle putt on 8th

Three-putting the next for only a par heightened the tension but after being joined on 12 under by Campbell's birdie at the 15th, he did the same to get his nose back in front.

Having almost made a hole-in-one at the short 16th with a wonderful eight-iron, Perry's subsequent tap-in birdie looked as if it might be the winning shot, but his third shot at the par-four 17th went from the greenside rough to the opposite fringe in the first show of nerves.

Despite finding a fairway bunker at the last he still had a 15-foot chance for victory, but his putt for par went left of the cup and the man from Kentucky was made to pay the price in the sudden-death play-off.

"I had that putt that I've seen Tiger make, I've seen so many people make that putt," Perry reflected afterwards.

"That was probably the most disappointing putt of the day because I hit it too easy. You've got to give that putt a run. I mean, how many chances do you have to win the Masters?"

Cabrera looked to be heading out of contention when he sliced he tee shot on the first extra hole, the 18th, into the pines, but his second shot ricocheted kindly off of a tree and helped him save par.

I hit a great bunker shot and I just pushed the putt. It was a left-edge putt and I just kind of left the blade open

Chad Campbell

Bidding for his first major title, Campbell, the 34-year-old Texan, had the best position off the tee on the first extra hole, the par-four 18th, but he pushed his approach into a greenside bunker and failed to get up and down.

"I was pretty excited to hit the fairway," he said. "I got up there and had a perfect seven-iron and I just kind of hung it out to the right.

"I guess I was a little bit worried about turning it over and just kind of held on to it.

"I hit a great bunker shot and I just pushed the putt. It was a left-edge putt and I just kind of left the blade open."

Cabrera and Perry headed for the 10th. The Argentine had endured an inconsistent round but he played the second extra hole impeccably and, with Perry's approach missing the green, he could afford to two-putt for victory.

Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood were joint 10th when they resumed, but Poulter shot 74 for two under and Westwood, having double-bogeyed the seventh, dropped seven shots in the last four holes for a 79 - the worst round of the day.

Padraig Harrington, searching for a third successive major, lost a ball up a tree and added a seven on the 9th to his nine on the 2nd on Saturday. He shot 73 to finish level-par for the tournament.

For 19-year-old Rory McIlroy a memorable debut was completed with birdies on six of his last 10 holes for a final-round 70 and two under overall.

Paul Casey, Justin Rose and 51-year-old Sandy Lyle, the 1988 champion, were also two under.



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Masters photos
12 Apr 09 |  Golf


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