South African Charl Schwartzel wins The Masters at Augusta – and agony for Rory McIlroy.
Schwartzel, 26, charged to his first major title after yet another amazing day of high drama that saw Tiger Woods come from seven shots back into a share of the lead after 10 holes and McIlroy, who was four clear overnight, collapse to an 8 over par round of 80.
The 21 year old Rory suffered the biggest last-day collapse in a major since Jean Van de Velde lost the Open at Carnoustie from five clear at in 1999. In 1996 Greg Norman was six in front at Augusta and with a last round of 78 lost by five to Nick Faldo. Now McIlroy’s name will be listed amongst these collapeses as he finished only 15th, an incredible 10 shots behind.
In contrast, Schwartzel shot a best-of-the-day 66 to beat Adam Scott and Jason Day by two and their fellow Australian Geoff Ogilvy, Woods and England’s Luke Donald by four.
Schwartzel started his round by chipping in at the first, pitched in for an eagle at the third and then, behind once again after playing the next 11 in one over, closed with a staggering four successive birdies. He got up and down from just over the 15th, made 15-footers on the next two greens and, with two for it at the last, converted an 18-foot putt to end the week 14 under par.
“It was such an exciting day,” said Schwartzel, reflecting on a final round that saw the lead change hands no fewer than 15 times.
“There were so many roars and the atmosphere was just incredible. It was just a phenomenal day – I was getting tight coming down the 15th and I needed to do something.”
As for McIlroy a front nine 37 was bad enough but such was his overnight advantage that he was still the leader as he entered the back nine. First a horror triple bogey seven on the 10th, where his hooked drive hit a tree and rebounded in between the cabins way left of the fairway and not far from the tee. He needed a wood for his third, went left again and then hit another tree with his pitch. Even with a bogey on the next he was still in it, but that was his first three-putt and at the short 12th, his mind seemingly scrambled, he four-putted for a double bogey and dropped another at the long 15th.
Woods and Ogilvy threatened to stage the third biggest comeback in Masters history as they charged from seven back but it was not to be as they finished 10-under-par and in joint fourth place, along side Luke Donald, who chipped in at the last.
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