They say the Masters doesn't really start until the back nine on Sunday.
At one point on the back nine today there were 5 golfers tied for the lead and a slew more within sniffin' distance. Twenty-six year old Charl Schwartzel put an end to the madness by birdieing the last four holes for a two shot win over Aussies Jason Day and Adam Scott. He finished with a 66 to leave him at -14 for the tourney. Tiger Woods and Geoff Ogilvy carded 67s to place them in the conversation, but four shots shy of Schwartzel and tied with Luke Donald.
Third round leader Rory McIlroy succumbed to the moment with a disastrous back nine 43, falling to T14, ten strokes back. I was going to say he came apart like a $30.00 suit, but remembered he's just 21. I'll take him in all the majors for say, the next 20 years. Too much talent not to. I was particularly taken with McIlroy's classy post-round interview. It must have been difficult under the immediate circumstances. It stood out in complete contrast to Woods' terse, "get me the hell out of here", comments.
Woods' front nine 31 had the crowd going his way, but he strangely shot just even par on the birdie-laden back nine. He was leader in the clubhouse, but only for the briefest of tenures. A balky putter did most of the damage highlighted by a 3 foot miss for eagle on 15 that effectively sealed his fate. Adam Scott's chances were jettisoned by an errant 17th hole tee shot. He salvaged par, but Schwartzel's subsequent birdie on the same hole gave him the lead for good. Day and Scott threatened to be the first Australian winner of the Masters. Instead, Schwartzel, South African, won on the 50th anniversary of Gary Player's victory that made him the first foreign champion. Final Full Field Scores
All in all it was a compelling dogfight with any of eight or so players with a chance to win on the back nine. It really wasn't sealed until Schwartzel's bird on the 71st hole of the event. Great way to ring in the golf/major season. Can't wait for the US Open.