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Augusta, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - After a 4-stroke turnaround in two holes Sunday, Bubba Watson was in control of the Masters and he cruised to a 3- stroke win over two players.
Watson, who also won the 2012 Masters title, ended at 8-under-par 280.
Trailing by two strokes after seven holes, Watson birdied the next two holes, while Jordan Spieth bogeyed the eighth and ninth to go from two ahead to two behind.
Watson bogeyed the 10th to trim his lead to one, but after he birdied the 13th his margin was back to three. Watson parred the last five holes to win his second green jacket.
"I was telling my caddie coming up 18, 'I don't remember the last few holes.' I just remember hanging on. All I thought about was make pars, make pars and somehow I did. The walk up 18 was a little easier this time," Watson stated at the green jacket ceremony.
Spieth managed an even-par 72 to share second place with Jonas Blixt, who shot 71 in the final round. Both Spieth and Blixt, who were playing their first Masters, ended at minus-5.
"It was so much fun, it really was. Even if I didn't show it there on the back nine, it was. I took it all in. Standing ovations for both of us to each green. It was a dream come true," Spieth said. "Although it is a little hard right now, I'll be back and I can't wait to be back."
Miguel Angel Jimenez also shot 71 to take fourth at 4-under 284.
Matt Kuchar (74) and Rickie Fowler (73) shared fifth place at 2-under 286. Lee Westwood carded a 1-over 73 and was the final player in red figures at minus-1.
Adam Scott, the 2013 champion, closed with an even-par 72 to finish his title defense at 1-over-par 289. He shared 14th place.
Kuchar birdied the second and third to join Spieth in the lead at minus-6. However, Kuchar double-bogeyed the fourth and was never a factor again.
From that point forward, no one outside the final twosome got closer than two shots the remainder of the round.
Spieth holed a bunker shot for birdie on the par-3 fourth to remain two clear of Watson, who made a 6-footer for birdie there after making bogey on No. 3. Spieth found more sand on the fifth.
This time he blasted out, then 2-putted for bogey to trim his lead to one. Both players birdied the sixth from inside 10 feet. Spieth made it two in a row as he birdied No. 7 for his fourth birdie in the first seven holes.
"He started out hot with a bunch of birdies. Holed it from the bunker on four and knocked it really close on six," Watson said of Spieth. "So for me to back it up and make birdies on both of them helped a lot, helped the momentum go my way a little bit."
The next two holes saw a huge turnaround in Watson's favor. At the par-5 eighth, Watson knocked his second over the green, but chipped inside four feet. Spieth flared his second to the right and chipped to 25 feet.
Spieth 3-putted for bogey, then saw Watson kick in his birdie effort to forge a tie for the lead at minus-7.
Watson knocked his approach just over 15 feet from the hole at the ninth. That came after Spieth's second spun off the front of the green. He chipped to three feet, but missed the par putt after Watson drained his birdie chance.
Suddenly, Watson was two clear of Spieth and four ahead of Blixt, who was alone in third place.
"When I hit the shot, I thought I hit it too far, on my third shot, and it was the first shot that checked up all week on these greens. Then I just tricked out on a couple of putts," admitted Spieth. "I mishit the one on nine, and two two-stroke swings in a row on this course, that's tough to come back from."
Watson made bogey on 10 to cut his lead to one. Spieth found Rae's Creek off the 12th tee, but scrambled for a bogey. He was two back at that point, and Watson extended his lead on 13, where he made a 6-footer for birdie.
Three strokes clear with five holes to go, Watson left himself no more than a tap-in for par the remainder of the round. He parred the last five to win his second green jacket.
Spieth ended with six consecutive pars to share second.
Blixt bogeyed the seventh, but came back with birdies on eight and 13. He parred the final five. The Swede joined 1979 champion Fuzzy Zoeller as the only two players to start their Masters career with four consecutive sub-par rounds.
Rory McIlroy and Bernhard Langer both closed with 3-under 69s to gain a share of eighth place at even-par 288. They were joined there by John Senden (73), Thomas Bjorn (74), Jimmy Walker (70) and Kevin Stadler (73). This group, and the seven that finished ahead of them, will be back at Augusta next year as the top-12 and ties gain a spot in next year's field.
NOTES: Watson earned $1.62 million for the victory ... Watson was the first 54-hole leader in a major to go on to victory since Rory McIlory at the 2012 PGA Championship ... The Masters champion has come from the final pairing in 20 of the last 24 Masters tournaments ... Watson joined Phil Mickelson (2004, '06) and Tiger Woods (2001, '02) as the only three players to win two Masters titles in a 3-year span ... Joost Luiten fired a 5-under 67 in the final round to end at plus-4. That was just third round lower than 68 all week ... The PGA Tour heads to Hilton Head next week for the Heritage, where Graeme McDowell is slated to defend his title. The European Tour goes to Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysian Open, where Kiradech Aphibarnrat will defend his crown.
04/13 21:05:20 ET
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