Monday, April 13, 2009

Another crazy finish in Augusta

On Sunday, the final round of the 2009 Masters was played and it had it all! The Leader board was full of familiar names and some unfamiliar names but it was setting up to be a great round. The star pairing of the day was Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Too bad their tee time was not the last one of the day, which would have made it even better. At the start of the day, I felt like Tiger and Phil might be too far back to be a factor in the outcome of the winner, but I also didn’t expect Phil to shot a 30 on the front nine! I felt like Kenny Perry was going to play a solid round and win it going away. He did play a solid round playing a mistake free round until he hit 15. From that point on, you can see the nerves start to take over and he started making some bad decisions. Perry was opening the door for the others on the course including Tiger and Phil. If Phil doesn’t hit it in the drink on 12 and just makes a par, then he makes that 4-foot eagle put on 15; he would have won his third Green Jacket. But that didn’t happen and he ended up a couple of stokes short.The power pairing (Tiger and Phil) didn’t disappoint, they battled back and forth all day. But they were 7 stokes behind the leader at the start of the day and the proved to be too much for them to overcome. There were some great shots between them and the huge crowds following them loved every minute of it! There didn’t seem to be a lot of conversation between the #1 and #2 ranked players in the world, but I personally didn’t expect much if any at all. Once they made the turn to the back nine, I felt like the surge was on. But they both stumbled some and were never really able to apply major pressure on the leaders. Tiger ended the day –8 and tied for 6th while Phil was –9 and came in 5th. It felt like when they finished their round, the tournament was over. But actually there was still a lot of golf left to be played. It sort of felt like a heavyweight fight that was fought as the opening act and then the undercard was fighting last. It was sort of weird!

After the gallery realized that the winner was not going to come from that power pairing, they focused back on the leaders who were still out on the course. Chad Campbell was making his move back toward the top and posted a –12 while the last group was coming down the home stretch. All Kenny Perry needed to do was par one of the last two holes to win his first Masters, but that is easier said than done. He had birdied 16 and it all seem a formality after that, but keep in mind the amount of pressure that he must have felt. Because of that pressure, he made a bogey on both 17 and 18 to let Chad Campbell and Angel Cabrera back in it. As they played the first playoff hole, both Perry and Cabrera made par while Campbell made a bogey. So Perry and Cabrera went on to playoff hole number two and they both had good drives right down the middle. But then Perry pulled his second shot in possibly the worse place he could have put it. Cabrera calmly put his second shot close and then snatched the Green Jacket out of Perry’s sweaty hands. I would call it a choke since the pressure must be unreal, but all Perry had to do was play it safe and smart and he never would have been in a playoff.

Angel Cabrera has won two tournaments on US soil and both of them have been majors. He is a good player and has paid his dues, now he is reaping the rewards. He never seemed nervous and didn’t make any silly mistakes. Because of that, he out lasted the bigger names on the leader board and is now the Masters Champion. It was another great week of golf and I loved every minute of it.

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