Sunday, April 8, 2012

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 4-8-2012



BUBBA WATSON WINS MASTERS
 Bubba Watson won the Masters after a fantastic wedge shot from in the trees and off the straw, onto the green setting up a two putt win for the the green jacket.

After a back and forth day where the lead changed hands many times, Louis Oosthuizen and Bubba Watson tied to set up a sudden-death playoff. Both players got good looks at a birdie on 18, with Watson barely missing a Masters-winning putt. 

On the second playoff hole Watson stuck his tee shot on 10 into the deep woods right of the green on 10, but then uncorked a shot not even a Mickelson fan could imagine: a straight-up wedge that landed within 15 feet for birdie. Needing two shots to win, Watson put his first putt close, and tapped in his second for his first major win.

Oosthuizen played a largely mundane round of golf, with one notable exception a three-under albatross on the second hole that surely ranks as one of the greatest shots in Masters history.

The 260-yard shot was enough to keep the field at bay for most of the round, and enough to give Oosthuizen a little room to waver through the course of the round. He steadied himself on the back nine, bringing home the same -10 that he'd staked himself to on the second hole.

Once again, Watson found himself in a playoff for a major championship. In 2010, he fell to Martin Kaymer in the PGA Championship. This year, there would be no such fade.

Phil Mickelson, the favorite coming into the day, played 17 solid holes at a level good enough to stay in the hunt, if not own it. The problem was the fourth, where he drove a shot into the side of a grandstand and then needed two right-handed shots to get it free of the dense jungle growth. He carded a triple-bogey 7, falling from eight-under to five-under. And although he wouldn't bogey another shot, he left too many putts too short. He finished right where he started, at -8, staring up an impassable two-stroke incline at the leaders.

Other highlights included two aces at 16, by Bo Van Pelt and Adam Scott, and Van Pelt's astonishing 8-under run to tie a Masters record. Lee Westwood didn't do his usual major fade, but his 4-under day to get to -8 simply wasn't enough. And Matt Kuchar and 54-hole leader Peter Hanson both took turns at the lead, but couldn't hold. And Tiger Woods? A 2-over 74 to finish a dismal +5.

In the end, though, the final lingering image of this Masters was a tearful Bubba Watson, embracing his mother as the light faded . He'd finally broken into the ranks of golf's major winners with a well-deserved, hard-earned victory, and there was little more to do at that moment than weep in gratitude.



GONZALES WINS NATIONWIDE EVENT
Andres Gonzales completed a wire-to-wire victory Sunday in the Soboba Golf Classic, beating Andrew Svoboda  by two strokes for his first Nationwide Tour title.

Gonzales closed with an even-par 71 to finish at 8-under 276 on The Country Club at Soboda Springs. The 28-year-old former UNLV player earned $135,000.

Svoboda shot a 71. Alistair Presnell  and Michael Letzig tied for third at 5 under. Presnell had a 68, and Letzig finished with a 70. 



IN OTHER NEWS
Sergio Garcia told Spanish reporters after a dismal third-round round at the Masters that he doesn’t think he’s capable of winning a major.

Just 19 when he had a spectacular showdown with Tiger Woods at the 1999 PGA Championship, Garcia was supposed to give Woods a fight for the title of greatest player of their generation. He’s hardly been a washout, with 10 victories on the European Tour and another seven on the PGA Tour.

But he’s never quite lived up to his star billing, either. 

At 32, he’s now 0-for-54 in the majors.

Not that he hasn’t had chances. He finished in the top 12 at the last three majors of 2011, and went into the third round at Augusta National a stroke behind the leaders. But he took himself out of contention with a 3-over 75 that left him eight strokes back, and then unburdened himself to Spanish reporters.




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