Adam Scott conquered one of the final frontiers in Australian sport this week, when he became the first Aussie to win the US Masters. His win over 2009 champion Angel Cabrera in a play-off evoking wild celebrations and pointing to a renaissance in Australian golf.
The 32-year-old showed immense courage under pressure throughout his final round, birdying the final hole of regulation play with a seven-metre putt to shoot a 69, leaving him nine-under for the tournament. He was joined by Argentine Cabrera who also shot 279 overall at the hallowed Augusta National course to force a sudden-death play-off.
Both players parred the first play-off hole when they re-played the 18th. Play then moved back to the 10th, where the Queenslander calmly drained a four-metre birdie chance with his broomstick putter to win the coveted green jacket after Cabrera had left his opportunity agonisingly wide of the cup.
Scott was immense in handling the pressure of the play-off. There were no signs of the nerves that saw him surrender a four-shot lead with four holes to play at last year’s British Open. When his final putt rolled into the cup Scott flexed his muscles with clenched fists and let cry with a huge “C’mon Aussie!” with resounding applause coming from the gallery. The relief and ecstasy was evident on his face as he high-fived his caddy and embraced Cabrera.
Apart from becoming an instant national hero for breaking our long-standing hoodoo at Augusta, Scott becomes the tenth Aussie to win a major and the first since Geoff Ogilvy at the US Open back in 2006. After Aussies (including Scott himself) had been the bridesmaid on eight previous occasions at the US Masters, finally we have a winner.
Scott was as elegant as his final round putting in the presentation ceremony, describing the experience as unbelievable. “It fell my way today. There was some luck there somewhere. I don't know how to digest it at all at the moment but it was incredible. It’s incredible to be in this position. I’m honoured.”
Scott was also quick to pay tribute to his childhood hero and mentor, Aussie golf legend Greg Norman. “There was one guy that inspired a nation of golfers and that’s Greg Norman … part of this definitely belongs to him.”
The momentous win by Scott capped a stellar performance from Aussie golfers at Augusta after they had previously been lambasted in the media for their lowest representation at the event in recent history. Countrymen Jason Day and Marc Leishman, who both led at various stages throughout the tournament, finished third and tied-fourth with Tiger Woods respectively.
The title sees Scott rise to No.3 in the world, equaling his career-best ranking. He will now embark on a series of media duties before returning to his home in the Bahamas.
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