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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 31 July, 2014

The Masters hangout: how the final day unfolded at Augusta

Bubba Watson produced a masterclass to clinch his second green jacket. Here’s how it happened on Masters Sunday.

Image: David J. Phillip

JUST FOUR SHOTS separated the top 13 at the start of play today. It set the Masters up for another intriguing Sunday finish.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the action. Email niall@thescore, tweet @thescore_ie post a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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19.02 – Good evening and welcome to TheScore.ie’s Masters Sunday hangout. The TV has been booked for the last 364 days and thanks to a lot of moving on Moving Day, we’re set up for an absolutely brilliant finish.

Just four shots separate the top 13 at the start of play today and each of those players will tee off believing that this can be their day.

The safest bet? A late-night playoff.

Niall Kelly and I’ll be here with you until the bitter end. Let’s be honest, this is as good as it gets.

19.05 – Here’s a quick reminder of the leaderboard. Bubba and Jordan Spieth tee off at 7.40pm Irish time.

leaderboard

19.10 – Making it to the weekend was a feat in itself – just ask Luke!

19.20 – Over here, we asked you to pick tonight’s winner. Here are the early results:

poll

Full disclosure: my pre-tournament money went on Matt Kuchar so you can expect a healthy degree of bias over the course of the night.

19.23BOOM BOOM COUPLES! Freddy has started birdie-birdie and he’s up to three-under-par. The man is 54 — 54!!

19.25 – Needless to say, it’s BBC over Sky tonight and Ken Brown has just been down in the trees around the 10th hole where Bubba played his miracle shot here two years ago.

Ken didn’t try it himself unfortunately but here’s the next best thing. You’d get tired of watching this:


19.30 – Time for a quick scan down the leaderboard while we wait for the final groups to tee off.

Rory McIlroy is one-under for the day through eight, +2 for the tournament.

Another pre-tournament fancy, Jason Day, has dropped one shot through his first six and is down to +3.

His fellow Aussie, playing partner — and defending champion — Adam Scott has wilted as well. He’s +3.

19.31 – There’s a stat for you!

19.36 – Hunter Mahan was oh so close to a hole-in-one on the par three 12th.

IMAG0594

19.38 – There’s no denying who is the favourite out there for many neutrals today.

“The Mechanic” Miguel Angel Jimenez has started with a bogey five on the first though. He’s back to -2.

Golf - The Open Championship 2010 - Round One - St Andrews Old Course

Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

19.46 – Let’s be honest – if the green jacket was decided by the best nickname Kevin Stadler, son of Craig “The Walrus” Stadler, would already have won.

Imgflip

Source: Original by Press Association

19.48 – Bubba has just hit a peach of a shot from a bunker on the first hole. Not really a birdie look but it should be a straightforward enough two-putt for an opening par.

19.50 – Another reason to switch on the Beeb…

19.55 – Actually speaking of reasons to choose the Beeb over Sky, my colleague Sean Farrell has just reminded me of this piece which I wrote last year. It all still applies!

8 reasons why the BBC kicks Sky’s ass when it comes to watching the Masters

20.00 – Call it nerves or whatever you like but both of Jordan Spieth’s opening drives have veered off to the left. He’s gotten away with it so far/

“As the old saying goes, the shot that got you into trouble is the shot that will get you out,” says wise man Paul Azinger (I think).

20.02KUUUUUUUCH! Matty Nice (nobody ever calls him that) rolls in a tiddler for birdie on two and he’s tied for the lead on -5.

20.07 – The latest on our hunt for Matt Kuchar’s new nickname:

Houston Open Golf

Source: AP/Press Association Images

Butters_(Facebook)

Source: Nocookie

20.08GAME OVER FOR LEE? Double bogey five for Westwood on the fourth and he drops back to +1, six shots off the leaders.

20.12BIRDIE FOR SPIETH! He moves to -6 with a four on the second. Nice putt.

But hang on a second, here’s KUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCH!

His approach to the third leaves him with a really tricky chip back up on to the green… and he puts it straight in!

We have joint leaders on -6: Spieth and Kuchar.

20.16McIlroy watch: He’s had four birdies in the last five holes to go to three-under for the day thru 11, Evs for the tournament.

That 77 on Friday really killed him but if he can pick up another couple of shots on the way home, it will at least ask the question of those on the course.

20.27Double bogey for Kuchar… All the good work is undone already. Kuchar four putts on the par three fourth and gives back the shots he picked up a few minutes earlier.

He’s level par for the day through four, -4 for the tournament, and Spieth now leads by two.

20.30 – Fred Couples has been playing some superb golf today and is rolling in putts to beat the band. He’s still on -3 as he plays the eighth.

20.36JORDAN SPIETH CHIPS IN FROM THE BUNKER!

Ah stop. The 20-year-old briefly leads the Masters by three shots after chipping in from the front bunker on the fourth.

Bubba follows him in for birdie afterwards and now it’s Spieth -7, Bubba -5, Kuchar & Blixt -4

20.39 – Here’s that Spieth chip. As they usually say on Sky, take a bow son:

20.45 – As per usual Ian Poulter (top) and Rickie Fowler (bottom) are leading the battle for best dressed.

Masters Golf

Source: Matt Slocum

 

Masters Golf

Source: David J. Phillip

20.47 – Bogey for Spieth on the very next hole… just in case anyone was planning on wrapping things up early.

20.59BIRDIES GALORE! Spieth and Watson both birdie the par three sixth. Here’s the leaderboard:

leaderboard2

21.09 – To those who say that the Masters only begins on the back nine Sunday…

He’s right too. Bubba and Spieth have been driving each other on so far; Kuchar has been in the lead, fallen away, and then kept in touch all in the space of a few holes; Jonas Blixt has been in and out of every tree in the book; and “Boom Boom” Couples is still hovering around.

It’s all set up.

21.13 – If Jordan Spieth keeps playing like this, he won’t be caught. He’s rolled in another peach of a birdie on the seventh to move to -8.

That’s four birdies so far in, and a good run of birdie-bogey-birdie-birdie in the last four holes.

He’s a 10/11 shot with the bookies now to go on and make history. Bubba is 11/4 and Kuchar is 6/1.

21.18 – Freddie was enjoying himself but he’s bogeyed 10 and it looks like his chance might be gone. He’s five behind Bubba, seven behind Spieth.

Masters Golf

Source: Chris Carlson

21.24 – Bubba’s drive on the eighth: a rather impressive 328 yards. Deal with that.

21.30 – Stop what you’re doing and watch this from Rickie Fowler. This was to save a par four on the ninth.

Sensational:

21.33TIED BALLGAME! Spieth drops a shot on eight and Bubba birdies it for a two-shot swing. They’re level on -7, three clear of Kuchar (who is in the trees somewhere on nine) and Blixt.

21.38 – This is probably me clinging to some faint, faint hope when everyone else is (rightly) fixated on a shootout between Bubba and J-Spieth but Matt Kuchar has just made a putt to keep his chances alive. It’s a bogey that drops him back to -3 but it was a great save in the circumstances. A double would have been curtains.

21.41

He would say that – he wants you to watch Match of the Day instead.

21.43All over for McIlroy. He finishes with a 69 for tournament score of level par. That’s his third sub-par round of the week — after 71s on Thursday and Saturday. It was the 77 on Friday that killed him.

21.47Another two-shot swing at the top… and it’s gone in Bubba’s favour again. He drains an absolute monster for birdie and that puts all the pressure on Spieth who has a viciously tricky putt to save par. It lips out.

Bubba leads by two as the final group move on to the back nine.

Here’s the leaderboard:

leaderboard3

22.02 – Here’s one for you, stats fans:

22.04Bubba bogey - You know that saying about how the Masters only begins on the back nine Sunday? Well Bubba drops back to -7 after a tough chip onto the 10th leads to a bogey. Spieth saves an excellent par from the bunker to stay at -6.

22.05 – Matt Kuchar has just played what could be the shot of the day on 11. Wait till I find this one for you!

22.12Kuchar moves to -4: Massive break for Kuchar who put his drive on 11 into the pines but played an absolute miracle shot to within two feet. The birdie takes him to -4, three off Watson’s lead.

And he’s given himself a birdie look on the par three 12th as well…

22.15 – Another reason to love Jimenez (as if you needed one):

22.17Scores on the doors: Watson (-7) and Spieth (-6) both par 11; Kuchar and Blixt are -4 after a par apiece on the 12th.

Spieth has start to let his emotions show over the last few holes but if past history has taught us anything, it’s that there’s a lot of golf still to play.

22.21 – SPLASH! Spieth’s in the water at 12. Bubba goes safeish and ends up out the back.

22.30Jordan Spieth, take a bow – The kid shows some serious cojones with a superb up and down for four on the 12th. That’s a bogey worth celebrating and it keeps his challenge alive even as he falls two shots behind Bubba.

22.33 – To anyone out there still clinging on to faint hope:

22.34HOLY MOLY! Bubba Watson has just hit an absolutely monstrous drive on 13. Even by his standards, it’s BIG!

22.37Bubba yardage check: 366 yards.

If it was professional to swear for effect, I would.

22.42 – He’s not going to win it but Miguel Angel Jimenez has three birdies already in the back nine to move back up to level par for the day and -3 for the tournament. Attaboy.

22.45Anotha Bubba birdie – After that monstrous drive and wedge, Bubba has two putts for his birdie on 13. He leaves his first a bit short but rolls in the second and he leads Spieth and Blixt by three.

22.46 – To anybody not watching, Bubba Watson has put on an absolute masterclass of driving. How can a man welly the ball so hard and so accurately every time?!

22.52 – Bubba’s second on 14 is every bit as good as the drive. It doesn’t make for dramatic viewing but he has been excellent so far today.

22.56 – The width of a cigar separates Jimenez from a hole-in-one on 16. Fantastic shot.

22.59Pars again for Bubba and Spieth - Watson stays three clear with four to go.  It looks like Jonas Blixt, who is also on -5, is the only other man with any chance of challenging.

22.59Birdie for Jimenez. He’s up to four under and a tie for fourth.

23.02 – Here’s your bet for 2015:

23.06 – Blixt and Kuchar can only manage pars on the par five 15th… Bubba’s procession continues.

Here’s the latest:

leaderboard4

23.12 – It’s all over for Matty Nice. Kuchar has his last chance to launch a challenge with a birdie at 16 but it trickles by on the low side. He stays on -4, Blixt is on -5, and they have two to play.

23.17Pars all round - As I said earlier, it might not make for a dramatic Sunday but Bubba is slowly ticking off the holes on his march to the second green jacket.

He blems a ridiculous second shot into the 15th and then duffs his first chip… but still saves par.

16th to come for the the leaders.

23.18

23.25Bubba’s three up with two to play – Spieth goes first and just edges his birdie putt by. Bubba is even closer but his effort stays on the edge.

Two more faultless holes from Bubba and he’ll have another jacket for the wardrobe.

23.29

23.33 – Bubba and Spieth both hit slightly wild tee shots but, as you might expect, it’s the leader who recovers better.

Any of you still watching or is everyone gone to bed?

23.37

Yup.

23.38Stats time: Bubba has 10 one-putts from 16 holes so far today. Great response after yesterday.

23.38 – … And he rolls in the par putt, with a fist pump to follow. He leads by three as this final group heads down the 18th.

23.48Blixt (-5) and Kuchar (-2) head to the clubhouse.

Brilliant by the Swede who started the week as a 250/1 rank outsider. Those points will be invaluable when it comes to the Ryder Cup rankings.

Kuchar, who had the wind taken out of his sails with the double bogey early on, finishes bogey-bogey to fade away.

Here comes the champion elect…

23.55BUBBA WATSON IS THE 2014 MASTERS CHAMPION!

bubba1

 

bubba2

23.57 – Bubba makes no mistake, trickling down his first putt and then tapping in a tiddler for the par that seals his win.

Wife Angie and their son Caleb are here to enjoy the moment this time and the family celebrate together.

Yes, there were some tears.

0.04 – Here’s the final reckoning:

leaderboard5

0.14bubba3

Who are you backing to win the Masters tonight?

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