AUGUSTA, Ga. — After decades of frustration and numerous close calls in the Masters Tournament, Australia’s dry spell ended when Adam Scott rolled in a playoff birdie on Sunday.
“It’s amazing that it’s my destiny to be the first Aussie to win. It’s incredible,” Scott said.
Scott called himself a “proud Australian” after closing out a 6-under weekend with rounds of 69-69.
Using a controversial long putter that he anchors to his body, Scott rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole, No. 10, which is becoming the place to win the Masters. Three of the past five Masters titles have been won on that hole, which is the second hole under the sudden-death format.
Australia’s Jason Day bogeyed two of his final three holes and finished with 70 to take third place, two shots out of the playoff.
Tiger Woods (70 on Sunday) and first-round co-leader Marc Leishman (72), another Aussie, tied for fourth place.
Third-round co-leader Brandt Snedeker, who shot 75, tied for sixth place with Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen (68). Spain’s Sergio Garcia (70), England’s Lee Westwood (71) and Matt Kuchar (73) followed with a three-way tie for eighth place.
China’s 14-year-old Tianlang Guan, the youngest-ever Masters participant, finished 58th out of the 61 players to make the cut. Guan, the lone amateur to make the cut, shot 73-75-77-75, including a one-stroke slow-play penalty in the second round.
Helping to ease the pain of his collapse on the final holes of regulation that cost him the 2012 British Open, Scott won his ninth PGA Tour victory and first major championship. He has won eight times on the European Tour. He ran his playoff record to 2-0 while Cabrera is now 3-2.
“He’s a great person, a great player,” Cabrera said of Scott. “I get along with him. We’ve been together in Presidents Cups, and I’m happy for him. Unfortunately in playoffs, it’s one-on-one, head to head. And there’s got to be only one winner, and he was able to win.”
Scott also made it a clean sweep for majors won with anchored putting strokes, which might be outlawed starting in 2016 if the U.S Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golf Club go through with their proposal to ban them. Keegan Bradley won with a long putter at the 2011 PGA Championship, followed by Webb Simpson in the 2012 U.S. Open and Ernie Els in the 2012 British Open.
Australians had won 15 major championships, but none at Augusta National until Sunday.
“We are a proud sporting country, and like to think we are the best at everything, like any proud sporting country,” Scott said. “Golf is a big sport at home. It may not be the biggest sport, but it’s been a sport that’s been followed with a long list of great players, and this was one thing in golf that we had not been able to achieve. … This is one notch in the belt we never got,”
Scott tipped his hat to fellow Aussie Greg Norman, a two-time major winner and four-time Masters runner-up for “inspiring a nation of golfers. He’s given me so much time, inspiration and belief. I drew on that a lot today. Part of this belongs to him.”