Sun Sentinel
PGA Tour
Schwartzel wins wild Masters



Augusta, GA (Sports Network) - Charl Schwartzel of South Africa birdied his last four holes Sunday to earn his first major championship on a wild Sunday at the Masters.

Schwartzel, who holed out from off the green twice, shot a six-under 66 and won by two over Australians Adam Scott (67) and Jason Day (68). The South African finished at 14-under 274 to don the green jacket at Augusta National.

"It was a phenomenal day," Schwartzel said at his televised green jacket presentation.

The margin of victory may have been two, but this was a close, intensely competitive final round. Eight different players held a piece of the lead on Sunday, but the group was headlined by Tiger Woods' awesome run into contention.

He made the turn in 31 thanks to a 10-foot eagle putt at eight and found himself tied for the lead, but came up a little too short. Woods didn't birdie the par-five 13th and hit an amazing second to four feet at the par-five 15th, but lipped out the eagle putt.

Woods didn't make another birdie on his way in, but posted a five-under 67 to share fourth place at minus-10.

"I got off to a nice start there and posted 31 and then on the back nine could have capitalized some more," said Woods, a four-time Masters champion. "I should have shot an easy 3- or 4-under on the back nine and I only posted even."

Woods was joined in fourth by Geoff Ogilvy and Luke Donald, both of whom had impressive runs as well. Ogilvy birdied five in a row from the 12th for a 67, and Donald chipped in for birdie at the last for a 69 to get to 10-under.

Former winner Angel Cabrera managed a one-under 71 and came in seventh at nine-under par.

It was a painful final round for the third-round leader Rory McIlroy. He hit a horrendous tee shot at the 10th and fell apart from there. McIlroy, who was one ahead on 10, triple-bogeyed the hole and finished with an 80 on Sunday. He tied for 15th at four-under 284.

They say the Masters doesn't begin until the back nine Sunday. On this Sunday, they were right, but not totally.

Schwartzel chipped in for birdie from the side of the green at No. 1. He holed out from the fairway for an eagle at the third and was suddenly tied for the lead with McIlroy.

Schwartzel hit a terrible tee ball at the fourth and made bogey. McIlroy kept the one-shot lead at 11-under until the disaster at 10.

After McIlroy's mistake, Schwartzel found himself in a group tied for the lead at 10-under par. Woods, Cabrera, K.J. Choi, Day and Scott were in the mix with Schwartzel, and it was Woods who made the first move.

At the par-five 15th, Woods hit a spectacular approach that prompted a club twirl and a confident walk up the fairway. The ball came to rest four feet right of the stick, but his eagle putt, which would have given him the lead on his own, lipped out hard on the right side.

He was 10-under par and tied with several players, but then Scott stepped up.

At the 14th, Scott rolled in a five-foot birdie putt to reach 11-under par. He badly pulled his second at the par-five 15th and could do no better than get his third to 50 feet. Scott's birdie effort came up eight feet short, but he converted the par putt to stay one in front.

Woods narrowly missed a birdie try at 16 and couldn't get another birdie. He signed for his 67 and waited for the outcome.

Schwartzel, in the group behind Scott, got up and down for birdie from behind the green at 15 to match Scott at 11-under par. Scott hit his tee ball to two feet at 16 and tapped in for birdie and the lead.

Schwartzel's tee ball at 16 came up 15 feet short of the stick, but he ran home the birdie putt to once again tie Scott. The Australian hit a terrible drive at 17 and knocked his second into a bunker. His blast from the trap came up 12 feet short, but he made that par putt and stayed tied.

Day birdied 17 to get within one, but Schwartzel continued his incredible run with the putter. He sank a 10-foot birdie putt at No. 17 to move one shot clear.

Ogilvy and Donald got into the clubhouse at 10-under, but it was clear that the pair and Woods would come up a bit short.

It was down to Schwartzel, Scott and Day, but Day needed a birdie at 18. He got it, and Scott two-putted for par.

Schwartzel was one ahead with one to play. He found the fairway at the last, and his approach stopped 18 feet right of the flag. He had two putts to win his first major and didn't need them.

Schwartzel poured in the birdie putt, his fourth in a row, and walked off to Butler Cabin to put on his green jacket.

"The atmosphere out there was incredible," Schwartzel said at his jacket presentation. "I needed to do something. I managed to hit really good iron shots and really good putts coming in."

Schwartzel became the third South African to win the Masters. Sunday's victory came on the 50th anniversary of Gary Player's first victory, which was also the first win by an international golfer. Trevor Immelman won in 2008.

Australia still doesn't have a Masters champion.

"I played well today and that's all I could ask for," said Scott, who is still majorless. "Obviously I can't control Charl. Nothing I can do about it. I've got to be pretty proud with the way I played over the weekend."

Scott's 67-67 weekend was impressive, but Day's 12-under 276 was a new Masters record for best performance by a first-time player.

"I've had the best first Masters experience, and this is going to go down for a long, long time in the memory bank. I've just had a blast," said Day. "You can't do anything about a guy who birdies the last four holes to win a tournament, especially the Masters."

Choi finished with an even-par 72 and tied for eighth with Bo Van Pelt, who shot a 70 on Sunday.

Last year's winner Phil Mickelson shot a two-over 74 on Sunday and tied for 27th at one-under par.

NOTES: This was Schwartzel's first PGA Tour victory and his seventh European Tour victory...This was only the second time in the last 21 years that a champion came out of anywhere other than the final group...Zach Johnson was the only other golfer to win outside the last pairing...No European has won the Masters since 1999.