Date: April 13, 2009
Author: PA Sport

Cabrera masters Augusta

Argentina&aposs Angel Cabrera added a Masters green jacket to his 2007 US Open victory – and stopped 48-year-old American Kenny Perry becoming the oldest major champion in history. The pair had tied with Perry&aposs Ryder Cup team-mate Chad Campbell on 12-under-par after a day earlier dominated by magnificent charges and bad finishes from Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. Campbell went out when he missed a par putt of under four feet on the first hole of the sudden-death play-off. Cabrera made a seven-footer to stay alive there and triumphed when Perry, who had bogeyed the final two holes when two ahead, missed the green at the second extra hole and failed to get up and down. At 69 in the world Cabrera became the lowest-rated Masters champion since the rankings began in 1986 – and his triumph came 41 years after his compatriot Roberto de Vicenzo became one of the unluckiest losers ever in major golf. De Vicenzo was all set to go into a play-off with American Bob Goalby at the same Augusta National course, but signed for a par four on the 17th when he had actually taken three. The rules stated that he had to accept the higher score and so he is forever listed as a Masters runner-up. That looked likely to be Cabrera&aposs final position as well, but Perry brought back horrible memories of his finish to the 1996 US PGA championship. On that occasion he was two ahead with one to play, but carded a closing bogey six, sat in a television studio and watched Mark Brooks birdie, then lost the play-off. Cabrera, 39, had teed off with the chance to become the first Masters champion to have four rounds in the 60s. But as it turned out a one-under 71 was good enough. Japan&aposs Shingo Katayama finished fourth, Mickelson fifth and Woods joint sixth with fellow Americans Steve Flesch, Steve Stricker and little-known John Merrick. Geoff Ogilvy was the best placed Australian finishing in a tie for 15th after an impressive three-under-par final round. Aaron Baddeley also shot a 69 to be a shot behind in a share of 17th, while Stuart Appleby and Robert Allenby finished in 30th and 38th respectively. In their worst collective showing since 2000, no European finished in the top 16. Ulsterman Graeme McDowell was best, four-under and joint 17th after a 69. Woods and Mickelson had earlier served up what for most of the round was one of the great head-to-head duels ever in majors. They both came from seven back to be only one behind with two to play, but could not eliminate the mistakes which would have put more pressure on the leaders over the closing stretch. Woods bogeyed the last two like Perry, but it was of no comfort to Mickelson that he beat his deadly rival by one. He made the bigger blunders at the crucial moments. The 2004 and 2006 champion, out in a dazzling record-equalling 30 that brought electricity to the atmosphere around the entire course, first messed up the short 12th by going in the water and taking a double bogey five. When he two-putted the long 13th he re-ignited his chances and at the 15th he drilled a majestic iron to four feet. If the eagle putt had gone in he would have joined Perry out in front, but he missed. Woods had also birdied the 13th and after missing a 20-foot eagle putt two holes later hit his tee shot to the 170-yard 16th to four feet and drew level with Mickelson. They were both one behind, but Woods blocked himself out off the 17th tee, could not find the green and bogeyed. Mickelson, meanwhile, hit his approach to six feet, but missed that as well and then, while Woods was in more tree trouble on the last, found the cavernous fairway bunker and, unlike Sandy Lyle so famously in 1988, came up short of the green and could not save par. Perry, joint overnight leader with Cabrera, parred the first 11 holes, then made a 30-footer from the fringe of the short 12th. Three-putting the next for only a par heightened the tension, but after being joined on 12-under by Campbell&aposs birdie at the 15th he did the same to get his nose back in front – and then almost holed-in-one at the short 16th. The tap-in birdie looked as if it might be the shot that won it, but it was not to be. He went long at the 17th, chipped off the front of the green and failed to get up and down. At the last he found the fairway bunker, but still had a 15-foot chance to eclipse Julius Boros – US PGA champion in 1968 – as golf&aposs oldest major champion. He could not make it, though, and was made to pay the price. In the end the 2009 Masters will be mostly remembered for errors – by Mickelson, Woods and Perry in regulation play and then by Campbell and Perry in the play-off. Cabrera went in the trees when the three-man shoot-out began and although his second shot hit a tree and finished way short of the green, he salvaged par and minutes later was being helped into his jacket by last year&aposs winner Trevor Immelman. PGA Tour, Final Round of the US Masters, Augusta National Golf Course, Georgia -12: Angel Cabrera 68 68 69 71 (won playoff), Kenny Perry 68 67 70 71, Chad Campbell 65 70 72 69 -10: Shingo Katayama 67 73 70 68 -9: Phil Mickelson 73 68 71 67 -8: Steve Flesch 71 74 68 67, John Merrick 68 74 72 66, Steve Stricker 72 69 68 71, Tiger Woods 70 72 70 68 -7: Jim Furyk 66 74 68 73, Hunter Mahan 66 75 71 69, Sean O Hair 68 76 68 69 -6: Tim Clark 68 71 72 71, Camillo Villegas 73 69 71 69 -5: Todd Hamilton 68 70 72 73, Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) 71 70 73 69 -4: Aaron Baddeley (Australia) 68 74 73 69, Graeme McDowell 69 73 73 69 -3: Nick Watney 70 71 71 73 -2: Stephen Ames 73 68 71 74, Paul Casey 72 72 73 69, Anthony Kim 75 65 72 74, Ryuji Imada 73 72 72 69, Trevor Immelman 71 74 72 69, Sandy Lyle 72 70 73 71, Rory McIlroy 72 73 71 70, Ian Poulter 71 73 68 74, Justin Rose 74 70 71 71, Rory Sabbatini 73 67 70 76 Also: -1: Stuart Appleby (Australia) 72 73 71 71 +1: Robert Allenby (Australia) 73 72 72 72