AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Adam Scott ended decades of Australian disappointment when he became the first player from his country to win the Masters with a gripping playoff victory over Angel Cabrera at a rain-soaked Augusta National on Sunday.
Scott sealed the win with a 15-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole, the par-four 10th, moments after burly Argentine Cabrera had narrowly missed his attempt from 18 feet.
The duo finished the regulation 72 holes on nine-under-par 279, Scott sinking a 25-foot birdie putt at the last for a three-under-par 69 before Cabrera matched him after hitting a brilliant approach shot to just three feet on 18 for a 70.
It was the fifth playoff at Augusta National in the last 11 years, and the second in a row with American left-hander Bubba Watson having edged out South African Louis Oosthuizen 12 months ago.
”That how golf is,“ 2009 Masters champion Cabrera, who had been seeking a third major title, graciously said greenside. ”I had that chip on 18 ... I could have won it. But Adam is a great winner.
“Obviously I would have been happier if I would have won but he is a great person, a great player. I get along with him. We’ve been together on Presidents Cups. I‘m happy for him.”
There had previously been eight runner-up spots by Australians at the Masters, three of them achieved by Greg Norman.
Cabrera and Scott were both in perfect position off the tee on the first playoff hole but the Australian narrowly failed to hold the green with his approach, his ball spinning backwards before settling just off the fringe.
Cabrera followed suit, venting his frustration after squandering a possible advantage when his second shot rolled back off the front of the green to end up a couple of yards below Scott’s ball.
The Argentine came desperately close to holing his chip shot, his ball sliding past the right edge of the cup. Scott’s chip came up three feet short but both players safely parred to keep the playoff alive.
At the par-four 10th, both players found the middle of the fairway off the tee. Cabrera, playing first, hit his wedge approach to 18 feet below the hole before Scott fired his to 15 feet.
The Argentine narrowly missed sinking his birdie attempt, his ball tantalizingly ending up on the edge of the cup after curling from right to left.
Scott and his caddie Steve Williams spent a long time lining up the Australian’s putt before he settled and stroked the ball toward the hole, loud roars erupting around the green when it disappeared into the cup.
Editing by Frank Pingue