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Monday, 09 April 2012
Bubba Watson receives the Green Jacket from 2011 Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel.  (Getty Images)
Bubba Watson receives the Green Jacket from 2011 Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel. (Getty Images)
Augusta National served up another thriller - and it ended with American Bubba Watson overcoming Louis Oosthuizen and pulling off the fifth win by a left-hander in the last ten Masters Tournaments.

The big-hitting 33 year old stopped Oosthuizen from becoming the third South African to don a Green Jacket in the last five years - and the first ever to win after producing a magical albatross.

With England's Lee Westwood coming close again, Oosthuizen, the runaway winner of The Open Championship at St Andrews two years ago, and Watson, who lost a play-off for the US PGA Championship to Martin Kaymer a month after that, tied on the ten under par total of 278.

"I never got this far in my dreams," said the 33 year old.

Watson had missed a 22 footer on the final green and then failed with a nine footer when they returned to the 18th.

They then switched to the downhill tenth. Oosthuizen bogeyed and Watson, despite hitting into trouble with his distinctive pink driver, conjured up a superb hook onto the green and two-putted for victory.

"I was there earlier," he said of his drive into trouble. "So I was used to it.

"I knew what I was facing. I had a good lie. I had to hook it about 40 yards, but I am pretty good at hooking it."

He becomes the 14th different winner of the last 14 Majors and the eighth in a row who had never won one before. Seven was already a record.

Both had missed birdie putts on the last, but what came before was simply stunning.

After the drama of Charl Schwartzel’s victory last year this year's final round included the first-ever albatross two on the 575 yard second hole.

That would have been memorable if it had been from the tournament back-marker, but Oosthuizen's 253 yard four iron took him into the lead.

With a roar that matched any heard in the great days of Jack Nicklaus on the course, the noise level went up and up as the ball curled round from the front of the green and then dropped in to take him from seven under par to ten under at a stroke.

“It was tough after that double-eagle,” said Oosthuizen. “I mean, when something like that happens early in your round, you think that this is it. That was my first double-eagle ever, so it was tough the next five holes to just get my head around it and just play the course.”

Overnight leader Peter Hanson could hear it from the first green and bogeyed to suddenly find himself two behind.

Three-time winner Phil Mickelson - another left-hander, of course - was joint second at that point, but then gave himself a real mountain to climb with a six - his second triple bogey of the week - on the short fourth.

Nobody has ever won a Green Jacket with one triple bogey on his card and Mickelson could not change that.

Westwood birdied the last, but a 68 for eight under left him joint third with Hanson, Mickelson and another American, Matt Kuchar.

It was Westwood's sixth top three finish in his last ten Majors, but still he has not won one in 56 attempts.

Mickelson had crashed from one behind to four back on the third after hitting the grandstand on the left with his tee shot and rebounding into the undergrowth.

Rejecting the idea of going back to the tee, he then had two right-handed hacks and found a bunker.

Getting up and down from there at least limited the damage to three dropped shots, but after seven holes Mickelson was still searching for his first birdie of the day.

Oosthuizen had bogeyed the same hole and parred his way to the turn, but then failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker at the tenth and so the tension mounted.

He birdied the long 13th, but was joined on nine under when Kuchar eagled the 15th from only three.

Kuchar followed that with a bogey, though, and instead, even with Oosthuizen adding another birdie at the 15th, it was playing partner Watson who became joint leader after four successive birdies from the 13th.

“Bubba had a good stretch of four birdies in a row - he played brilliant,” added Oosthuizen.

“I don't feel like I could have hit two better putts in the play-off. It's a hard day, but congratulations to Bubba, he did brilliantly.”

Ian Poulter and Padraig Harrington gave themselves a chance too, but it was effectively over for them before Poulter three-putted the last for seventh place and Harrington double-bogeyed it to be joint eighth with Justin Rose and Adam Scott, who like Bo Van Pelt holed-in-one off the 16th.


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