Lackluster finish to 78th Masters after rich early promise

Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:28pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - The 78th Masters began as one of the most wide open in decades, but it will not go down as a classic after a surprisingly Lackluster finish on Sunday when Bubba Watson clinched his second green jacket.

The roars for which the year's first major is famous never materialized on the back nine, mainly due to a scarcity of birdies and eagles, and Watson ultimately eased to victory by three shots.

Instead the only real fireworks during the final round occurred before the turn as 20-year-old American Jordan Spieth made his scintillating early run, four birdies and a bogey briefly putting him two ahead before he faded.

With the notorious Augusta National layout running just about as fast and firm as it can after five days of unrelenting sunshine, danger lurked at every corner and damage limitation was a priority on Sunday rather than birdie hunting.

Of the top 13 players by the time the tournament was over, 50-year-old Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez was the only one who covered the back nine under par, testimony to the tricky scoring conditions.

Watson, however, had no complaints about the relative ease of his second Masters victory after the gripping playoff drama of his breakthrough win at Augusta National two years ago.

"No, I feel a lot better," smiled the 35-year-old from Florida. "The shot out of the woods (in 2012) made me famous, but this one was a lot better for me and my nerves, my family, probably on (caddie) Teddy (Scott)."

Scott was also on Watson's bag when the American left-hander edged out South African Louis Oosthuizen to win the 2012 Masters, emerging triumphant on the second extra hole after hitting a miraculous hook shot from pine straw.   Continued...