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Page last updated at 07:37 GMT, Monday, 13 April 2009 08:37 UK
Masters 2009

Augusta - 9-12 April, 2009

Angel Cabrera receives the green jacket

Watch Cabrera receive the Green Jacket

Argentina's Angel Cabrera said his experience of winning the US Open in 2007 proved an invaluable aid as he won a play-off to win this year's Masters.

Beating Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell by parring both extra holes, Cabrera said: "The US Open got me by surprise.

"But this win I'm more prepared. I know more how things happened. I was happy with my game. I was confident, just enjoying the moments."

Cabrera was the best of the leading contenders over the closing holes.

Although he had started the day tied with Perry for the lead on 11 under - and reached 12 under following a birdie at the third - three bogeys between the fourth and 10th left him three shots behind his American playing partner at the 13th.

However, his length off the tee helped him birdie that par five, where Perry three-putted for par, and more birdies at 15 and 16 - where he sank an awkward left-to-right putt - kept him in the mix.

"After the 10th hole I started to hit the ball good and things started to roll," Cabrera said.

Football has always been the biggest sport in my country. I won the Masters but that's not going to change what football means

Angel Cabrera

At the 18th, he nailed a tricky downhill putt to get into the play-off with Perry and Campbell, and went to the second extra hole with Perry alone following Campbell's bogey exit - and a slice of fortune for the South American.

With the players playing the 18th again, Cabrera's second hit a tree but ricocheted back into play. His third, a pitch from more than 100 yards was hit to about nine feet and another nerveless putt kept the 39-year-old Argentine in the race.

A solid par at the second extra hole, the 10th, was good enough for the title after Perry pulled his second shot into the rough.

The only other South American to win a major was Cabrera's countryman Roberto de Vicenzo, who won The Open in 1967 but signed an incorrect scorecard at the 1968 Masters to hand Bob Goalby a win without a play-off.

"De Vicenzo had bad luck. It's not going to change what happened to him," Cabrera said. "But this win, to take a major back to Argentina, it's going to help a lot."

De Vicenzo and Goalby appeared set for a play-off in 1968 after each firing final-round 66s. But De Vicenzo signed a card showing a par four on the 17th rather than a birdie and as a result handed Goalby the victory.

Years later, De Vicenzo handed Cabrera a souvenir for luck at the Masters.


"He gave me a framed picture where he has his hand in a green jacket and he said, 'I hope this gives you luck so someday you can bring back a green jacket for yourself,' " Cabrera revealed.

"This is the Masters. A lot of magical things happen." One of those came when 2008 Masters winner Trevor Immelman of South Africa placed the green jacket upon his shoulders for the first time.

"I had goosebumps," Cabrera said. "I was shaking. I can't even explain it."

He resisted the notion to compare his achievement to those of world champion countrymen Diego Maradona in football and Manu Ginobili in basketball - and knows golf will not suddenly become his homeland's obsession because of the dramatic victory.

"The Masters is the Masters. What I do is what I do. What Maradona does or Ginobili does is their game," Cabrera said.

"Football has always been the biggest sport in my country. I won the Masters but that's not going to change what football means."

Poor form since the 2007 US Open had seen Cabrera slip down the rankings to 69, so few tipped him to be a contender in Augusta.

But Campbell said afterwards: "He's a great player, one of the best drivers we have. He's long and hits it very straight. He's one of the longest guys out here, really underrated in that category."

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Masters photos
12 Apr 09 |  Golf

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