ADAM SCOTT brought the breath back to a nation this morning with an historic victory at the 2013 US Masters.
In an edge of the seat experience for Australian golf fans, Scott beat 2009 champion Angel Cabrera with a seven metre birdie putt on the second playoff hole at a wet Augusta National.
‘‘It fell my way today. There was some luck there somewhere. I don’t know how to digest it at all at the moment but it was incredible. It’s incredible to be in this position. I’m honoured,’’ the 32 year old Queenslander said before accepting Australia’s first ever Masters green jacket.
The look on Scott’s face (pictured above) after he holed what he momentarily thought was the winning putt for birdie on the 18th hole was priceless, and exemplified how much it meant to him.
In lounge rooms across Australia people were telling Twitter they couldn’t breathe.
We had all watched the heartbreaking finish to the British Open last year when Scott blew a lead over the closing holes. Relying on him to sink a couple of longish range putts under such incredible pressure when his skill in that area has always been a weakness was more than many could bear.
“Next time – I’m sure there will be a next time – I can do a better job of it,” a dignified Scott said after losing to Ernie Els at Royal Lytham.
Today, he acknowledged all those who had gone so close before him, particularly his personal inspiration Greg Norman.
“Australian is a proud sporting nation, and this is one notch in the belt we never got,” Scott said. “It’s amazing that it came down to me today. But there’s one guy who inspired a nation of golfers, and that’s Greg Norman. He’s been incredible to me and all the great golfers. Part of this belongs to him.”
Scott has been targeting the majors
In recent years Scott has deliberately tailored his schedule in a determined effort to win a Major and it is a tribute to him the effort has finally paid off.
He has gone so close a couple of times, particularly at the Open last year and the US Masters in 2011 when he tied for second with Jason Day.
Last November, when he eventually won his first tournament for the year at the Australian Masters at Kingston Heath, he was award the gold jacket and basically said: “This is nice, but what I really want is a green one.”
As someone who has closely followed Scott in a number of recent tournaments wins, particularly his Melbourne victory last year and his win at the Australian Open in 2009, it was amazing to watch the incredible amount of raw emotion he exuded after sinking his putt on the 18th to take the tournament (and briefly clubhouse) lead.
Scott is the first Aussie to win a golf major since Geoff Ogilvy took the US Open in 2006 and of course the first ever to win the US Masters in its 77 tournament history.
Three Aussies start Masters final round in Top 5
Scott (69) started the day on 6-under, a shot behind overnight leaders Cabrera (70) and Brandt Snedeker (75), and a shot ahead of fellow Aussies Jason Day (70) and Marc Leishman (72).
When Day, the second round leader, birdied the first and then eagled from a bunker on the second he looked the one to beat. The 25 year took the outright lead with a birdie on the 14th and skipped to 9-under, two clear, with birdies on the next two holes. Unfortunately, he bogeyed 16 and 17 as Scott and the Argentinian kept coming.
The three golfers were all square on 8-under through the 16th and on Twitter Aussie fans were saying they were forgetting to breath.
Day dropped a shot on 17 and then Scott holed his sliding 21 footer on 18 to go to 9-under. The man they call “The Duck” was coming behind in the final group and put his approach much closer. He too birdied to spoil the early party. Scott was signing his card in the scorers hut and shrugged when he saw the action on a tv monitor.
Replaying the 18th in the first playoff hole, Cabrera’s birdie attempt went agonisingly close to ending another Australian dream.
The second playoff hole was the par-four 10th and Cabrera again narrowly missed his birdie chance.
Scott hadn’t had any putts go in all day – till the 18th – and relying on him for another seemed too much to ask for. As it happened, that little white ball went down that little hole – and an Australian sporting voodoo was dead once and for all.
[quote]”To make a couple putts to win the Masters is just an amazing feeling” … Adam Scott[/quote]
“It was a split second I thought I’d won,” Scott said of his reaction on the 18th. “That was the putt we’ve seen so many guys make to win, and what I thought is it’s time for me to step up and see how much I want this. To make a couple putts to win the Masters is just an amazing feeling.”
Or as European golfer Edoardo Molinari mischievously tweeted late in Scott’s round in regulation: “Adam Scott could become the first player in history to win the Masters without holing a putt!”
Day put on another magnificent Masters performance to finish third on 7-under (he’ll be back), while first round leader Marc Leishman was also valiant over all four days, finishing at 5-under tied with Tiger Woods (70).
Many thought Leishman could lead early but would eventually fall away but the 29 year old from Warrnambool in Victoria certainly stuck around all four days and remained in contention till late. It will be a huge boost to his career and it should be remembered he got into the Masters as the only Aussie US PGA Tour winner in 2012.
Scott’s win will not only boost his own stocks but should also do some remarkable things for Australian golf in general.2013 US Masters Final Results