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Adam Scott puts Down Under on top with Masters triumph

Adam Scott birdies the second playoff hole to defeat Angel Cabrera and become the first Australian to win the Masters.

April 14, 2013|By Brian Hamilton
  • Adam Scott celebrates after making a birdie putt on the second playoff hole to win the Masters on Sunday.
Adam Scott celebrates after making a birdie putt on the second playoff hole… (David J. Phillip / Associated…)

AUGUSTA, Ga. — In one moment, Adam Scott's fists clenched and his neck tendons went taut and out came forever's worth of frustrations. One ball rolled a long way into a cup across a soggy patch of grass, and he shouted down Australia's enduring failures at the Masters: Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, joy, joy, joy.

Through the downpour, Scott carried his country's flag into the scoring area to sign off on it all. But down the fairway lurked an Argentine who is at ease here.

Angel Cabrera roused everyone once more, rolling in a birdie putt, putting his son in a headlock on his way off the course while the day grabbed hold of everyone: Scott and Cabrera, tied at nine-under-par 279, and the Masters in a sudden-death playoff.

By the end, it was getting dark in Augusta. But it was a new day on the other side of the world.

Scott drained a 12-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole Sunday to become the first Australian to win the Masters, thrusting his hands into the air and unleashing his second primal scream in the gloaming.

"We're a proud sporting country and like to think we're the best at everything, like any proud sporting country," Scott said. "Golf is a big sport at home, and this was one thing in golf we hadn't been able to achieve. It's amazing it's my destiny to be the first Aussie to win. Just incredible."

None of his countrymen did this, not Greg Norman, not five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson, not anyone. The specters of their past torments were vanquished. Scott's own collapse at the British Open last summer — losing a four-shot lead with four holes to play — became a footnote.

Fellow Australians dominated the weekend. Jason Day finished third at seven under and Marc Leishman tied Tiger Woods for fourth at five under. But after back-to-back top-10 finishes at the Masters, the 32-year-old Scott authored an ending no one would forget.

"He's been looking for it, searching for it, this major title," said Cabrera, a two-time major winner. "He's achieved it, so I'm pretty sure his life is going to change really fast right now."

As late as the 15th hole, neither Scott nor Cabrera had the lead; that belonged to Day, who then posted back-to-back bogeys to open the door. Once Scott and Cabrera charged through, disaster threatened them on the first playoff hole.

Both approaches rolled off the 18th green, but two brilliant chips led to pars. On the second hole, No. 10, both again reached the green. But Scott couldn't read the putt in the darkness and called over practiced eyes: Steve Williams, who caddied for 13 of Woods' 14 major wins.

"I don't get him to read too many putts," Scott said. "He said it's at least two cups, it's going to break more than you think. I said, 'I'm good with that.' He was my eyes on that putt. It managed to hang in. Amazing feeling."

It rolled true and elation began anew. Later, just after 8 p.m. EDT, he emerged for his jacket fitting on the practice green, sidewalk lights illuminating the path through a tunnel of full-throated Aussies.

Once the jacket slipped over his shoulders, Scott threw his arms up and his head back, smiling as the rain fell and everything seemed bright as day.

"I'm a proud Australian and I hope this sits really well back at home," Scott said, "and even in New Zealand."

bchamilton@tribune.com

twitter@ChiTribHamilton

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