An Aussie finally Masters it at Augusta

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BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA (AP) - Greg Norman almost couldn’t stand to watch. The Great White Shark had circled around the elusive green jacket too many times without being able to wear it.

Pam Scott was on the other side of the world, trying to catch every agonizing moment.

Norman’s close calls lurked in the memories of so many Australians on Monday. They woke up, nervously turned on the TV or radio or went online and discovered Adam Scott was still going strong at the Masters.

No Australian had worn the famous green jacket, although Norman and Scott had been among the handful of Aussies to finish runner-up.

Pam Scott was home with her daughter in Queensland state, watching her 32-year-old son on TV, knowing that generations of people were willing him on, desperate for another big fish in Australian golf.

“We leaped in the air,” she said. “We were sitting on the bed all morning from four o’clock and couldn’t contain ourselves. It was just such a relief.”

It was the kind of relief that cascaded across the nation. Shouts of “You little bewdy” (beauty) echoed through usually quiet suburban streets. Commuters whooped and hollered on buses on their way into work. The prime minister was interrupted during a radio interview on the national broadcaster for an update from Augusta National.

“Butterflies doesn’t cut it,” Pam Scott told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. of the gut-wrenching final holes. “It was hard work this morning. You never know until the last putt drops.”

Adam Scott defied the pressure, a picture of poise as he sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole to beat Angel Cabrera in a playoff as darkness descended, setting off jubilation on the course and thousands of miles away in Australia.

Two other Australians _ Jason Day and Marc Leishman _ were in the top five at the start of play: Day held the lead at one stage before finishing in third place; Leishman tied for fourth with Tiger Woods.

Horns honked in morning traffic. Yells could be heard from households in tightly packed neighborhoods. People talked about knowing, in years to come, exactly where they were when Scott won.

Shopkeepers at Peregian Beach, near a resort course designed by Adam’s father, Phil Scott, spoke of the pride of having a Masters champion from their neck of the woods. Phil Scott was with his son at Augusta.

At the Kooralbyn International School in the Gold Coast hinterland, where Scott spent his final three high school years before graduating in 1997, former schoolmasters remembered him as a “tall, skinny, string-bean sort of fellow.”

“But you could see he was determined,” school principal Geoff Mills told Fairfax Media. “He was determined back then and he hasn’t lost that grit and determination you need _ not just for sport, but for life in general.”

Like Norman, Jack Newton is an Australian who knows what it’s like to be a Masters runner-up. He tied for second behind Seve Ballesteros in 1980.

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