Congratulations Bubba Watson, winner of the 2014 Masters
There were some familiar scenes at Augusta yesterday afternoon as Bubba Watson slipped into his second Green Jacket in three years after overcoming a battling Jordan Spieth to win the 2014 Masters.
A lack of drama preceded Bubba’s victory this time around, but the win is no less significant.
Watson and fellow American Spieth began the final round on level terms but the 20-year-old – who was looking to become the tournament's youngest ever winner – made an early bid for glory by storming into a two-shot lead, only for the 2012 champion to turn things round heading into the back nine.
Watson took his opportunity to run clear down the home stretch when Spieth found Rae’s Creek at the short 12th.
"I told my caddie up the 18th that I couldn't remember the last few holes, I was just hanging on and thinking about making pars," a jubilant Watson told Sky Sports. "Somehow I did and walking off 18 was a little bit easier this time. I kind of lucked into the last one, this one is a lot different, it was a lot of dedication to get back here."
Spieth only turned professional in December 2012 and hit poor tee shots on the opening two holes before making par on the first and then holing from 15 feet for birdie on the par-five second.
He then holed his second from the bunker at the short fourth before Watson, who had bogeyed the third and was briefly three behind, calmly holed from five feet for his own birdie to close the gap.
Spieth was unable to achieve any magic from another greenside bunker on the fifth, but a brilliant tee shot to the sixth set up another short birdie putt which he converted after Watson had holed from 10 feet for a two.
It was then another birdie on the seventh which took Spieth to eight under par and two shots clear – but that turned into a two-shot deficit only 20 minutes later.
A three-putt bogey on the eighth was followed by another on the ninth when his approach came back off the green, while the ever-improving Bubba got up and down from over the eighth green and then holed from 12 feet on the ninth.
Bubba did drop a shot on the 10th - where he won his play-off with Louis Oosthuizen two years ago – before seeing Spieth find the water in front of the green on the 12th to fall two behind again, giving him some breathing space.
Watson then launched a huge drive down the dog-leg 13th and a wedge to the centre of the green set-up another birdie, while Spieth was unable to convert his after driving into the pines.
There was no drama on the final few holes, with Watson happy to sit on a three shot lead and allow the chasing pack – too far behind by now – to try and catch him.
In contrast to Friday's round, Watson's putter did not let him down and a fine save at the 17th from six feet summed up his championship-clinching round.
A solid par at the last saw him home in 69, three clear of Spieth who did not back down and battled gallantly, eventually parring the final six holes for a round of 72 and a share of second place with Sweden's Blixt (71).
Elsewhere, Miguel Angel Jimenez claimed sole possession of fourth following a late rally that saw him birdie the 12th, 14th and 16th, while Rickie Fowler (73), Kuchar and Lee Westwood (73) were the only others under par.
Rory McIlroy, pundits favourite heading into the event, only just made the cut to play the final round, and with a 69 to end his game in a six-way tie for eighth place alongside fellow Europeans Bernhard Langer and Thomas Bjorn, things could have gone better for the Northern Irishman.
What’s In The Bag? Bubba Watson
The 2014 Masters: Final Leaderboard
-8: Watson -5: Blixt, Spieth -4: Jimenez -2: Fowler, Kuchar -1: Westwood. Selected others: R McIlroy; +1 Rose, Donaldson, Scott; +2 Poulter; +6 Gallacher; +9 Clarke, Lyle.