Charl Schwartzel wins the 75th Masters

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Anyone who thought the final round of the 75th Masters might be a bit anti-climactic because Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy started it with a four shot lead and was going to run away with it, was in for a bit of a surprise.

That four shot lead lasted precisely 27 minutes, at which point, Charl Schwartzel chipped in for an eagle on the 3rd. That took the South African to 11-under-par, and a share of the lead with Rory, whose bogey at the 1st had taken him back to 11-under.

Remarkably, it was Schwartzel’s second chip in of the day, his second in his first three holes, because after missing the 1st green to the right, he had holed an equally unbelievable shot at the opening hole for a birdie.

They say the Masters doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday. Well, this one started nine holes before that. And it didn’t stop there. Seven different players had at least a share of the lead at one point; and seldom has the Masters seen such dramatic ups and downs on the final afternoon.

What a shock it was that McIlroy’s brilliant play for three days suddenly deserted him on the fourth. After a slightly untidy, but far from disastrous outward 37, where he bogeyed the 1st and 5th and birdied the difficult 7th, it all turned sour for him on the 10th.

His drive hit the limb of a tree on the left, and rebounded right back up to close to one of the member’s cabins! Surely, no one in Masters history has played a shot from here. Chipping out, he then hit a terrible third which went into the trees left. And his recovery hit another tree!

A triple bogey 7 resulted, and he compounded that by three putting from 12 feet for a bogey on the 11th and then almost unbelievably 4-putting from 15 feet on the par-3 12th. It was horrible to watch. From then on, it was anyone’s Green Jacket, except for McIlroy’s.

Tiger looked likely to prevail for a while, but his 5-foot miss for eagle on the 15th ultimately cost him.

Then, Australia’s Adam Scott was in poll position after he birdied the 16th to go to -12. A very nervy drive into Ike’s tree at the 17th followed. Ultimately, both Adam Scott and his compatriot Jason Day who he played with, fell two shots short; and yet again the amazing Australian jinx (no Australian has ever won in the 75-year history) keeps going.

There will be lots of ifs and buts, but no one if they think about it will be able to say South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel didn’t deserve his victory. He becomes the first man ever to birdie the final four holes to win the Masters. It was quite incredible golf; and terrific theatre.

“It’s a very special feeling,” Schwartzel said afterwards. “Surprisingly, I felt very calm all day. Justin Rose told me early that I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Louis Oosterhuizen’s win at the Open at St Andrews was hugely inspirational to me. We grew up together, and we play almost every single practice round together. For me, when he won, it told me winning these is possible. For the Champions Dinner next year, I will have to find some way of importing biltong to this country!”

The final Sunday was a bitter-sweet day for Chubby Chandler, who manages both Charl Schwartzel and Rory McIlroy. As long as he took out the references to the Irish, he could presumably just hand the speech he had written for McIlroy to his stablemate.

Fifty years after the South African Gary Player became the first non-American to ever win a Green Jacket, one of Player’s countrymen wins another one.

1st -14 Charl Swartzel $1,400,000
2nd -12 Adam Scott
2nd -12 Jason Day
4th -10 Tiger Woods
4th -10 Geoff Ogilvy
4th -10 Luke Donald
7th -9 Angel Cabrera
8th -8 Bo Van Pelt
8th -8 K.J. Choi
10th -6 Ryan Palmer
11th -5 Justin Rose
11th -5 Steve Stricker
11th -5 Lee Westwood
11th -5 Edoardo Molinari
15th -4 Trevor Immelman
15th -4 Brandt Snedeker
15th -4 Fred Couples
15th -4 Ross Fisher
15th -4 Rory McIlroy
20th -3 Ryo Ishikawa
20th -3 Ricky Barnes
20th -3 Y.E Yang
20th -3 Martin Laird
24th -2 Fary Woodland
24th -2 Jim Furyk
24th -3 David Toms
27th -1 Robert Karlsson
27th -1 Charley Hoffman
27th -1 Ian Poulter
27th -1 Alvaro Quiros
27th -1 M-A Jimenez
27th -1 Phil Mickelson
27th -1 Hideki Matsuyama
27th -1 Matt Kuchar
35th Even Alexander Cejka
35th Even Sergio Garcia
35th Even Ryan Moore
38th +1 Paul Casey
38th +1 Rickie Fowler
38th +1 Dustin Johnson
38th +1 Bubba Watson
42nd +2 Bill Haas
42nd +2 Steve Marino
44th +3 Kyung-Tae
44th +3 Jeff Overton
46th +4 Nick Watney
47th +5 Ernie Els
47th +5 Aaron Baddeley
49th +6 Camilo Villegas

 

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