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Experience counts on Sunday in the Masters

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 13, 2014 at 7:55 pm •  Published: April 13, 2014
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — There's a reason no rookie has won the Masters in the 35 years since Fuzzy Zoeller pulled it off.

And that's a big reason Bubba Watson is now the proud owner of two green jackets.

His back nine was not nearly as spectacular as when he won two years ago. There was no playoff shot that will live in Masters lore, like the one he carved around the trees to beat a stunned Louis Oosthuizen.

Just a methodical march to the Butler Cabin, as Jordan Spieth made some rookie mistakes that Watson pounced on like someone who had done this before.

"Walking up 18 was a little easier this time," Watson said. "The first one for me was almost like I lucked into it."

Watson didn't need luck on this warm Sunday, when the possibilities seemed endless as players walked past the big tree on the clubhouse lawn to the first tee.

Tiger Woods was nowhere to be seen, and neither was Phil Mickelson. But 15 players were within five shots, and it looked like the kind of day when several might make a run at the lead Spieth and Watson held overnight.

None of them did. For a moment, it looked like the 20-year-old Spieth was going to stake his claim as golf's next superstar. He made four birdies — one on a holed bunker shot on No. 4 — in his first seven holes.

The last gave him a two-shot lead with 11 holes to play, and it seemed like Spieth was on his way to becoming the youngest Masters champion ever.

Then he flubbed a pitch shot on the relatively easy par-5 eighth, missed a short par putt, and the Masters started slipping away. He missed another short par putt on the ninth, and by the time the final twosome made the turn, it was Watson holding a two-shot lead.

In about 20 minutes, the tournament had changed. The rookie was now chasing a champion who knew how to win on Sunday at Augusta National.

And the way Watson was pounding his driver — including a tee shot on No. 13 that was truly like no other — it wasn't much of a fight.

"I had it in my hands and I could have gone forward with it and just didn't quite make the putts," Spieth said. "And that's what it came down to."

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