Golf

Adam Scott redeemed with Masters victory

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- There was no collapse.

Adam Scott, humiliated last summer in England when he blew a four-shot lead over the final four holes of the British Open, found redemption Sunday at the Masters. After struggling with his putter all day in wet conditions, Scott birdied No. 18 to get into a playoff with Angel Cabrera and then defeated the steely Argentine with a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 10, the second playoff hole.

The victory at Augusta National Golf Club was Scott's first major championship and the first Masters title for his native Australia, which knows golf heartbreak.

"It may not be the biggest sport, but it's been a sport that's been followed with a long list of great players," said Scott, who shot 3-under 69 Sunday to finish 9 under. "And this was one thing in golf that we had not been able to achieve."

As a 15-year-old, Scott skipped school to watch countryman Greg Norman play the final round of the 1996 Masters. Norman famously squandered a six-shot lead that day, and Scott's collapse at Royal Lytham & St. Annes brought comparisons.

Scott's long putter was part of the culprit that day. And Sunday in Augusta, with the greens already slower than players anticipated, compunded by the constant rain from late morning on, Scott's putting was again tested.

Birdie chances at 16 and 17 had failed. But his 20-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th ahead of Cabrera fell, drawing roars from the canopy of green and white umbrellas protecting.

"Everything fell my way in the end, I guess," said Scott, who shouted "Come on, Aussie," when his birdie on 18 dropped to get him to 9 under.

After the winning putt also disappeared with plenty of pace, Scott's caddie, Steve Williams, wobbled over to offer a high-five.

Long known as Tiger Woods' former caddie and for his mouth and antics, Williams received praise from Scott for his help on the winning putt. With darkness covering the course and the 10th hole in a bowl and further shaded, Scott could not see his line and waved Williams over.

Williams told him the putt broke more than his boss expected, about two cups, and Scott let it fly.

"An unbelievable read," Scott said.

Scott held off Cabrera, the 43-year-old in search of his second green jacket and third major title. Cabrera, the 2007 U.S. Open champion who won the 2009 Masters in a playoff, matched Scott's birdie on No. 18 to reach 9 under. On the first playoff hole, Cabrera's chip from just off the front of the 18th green almost went in. And his sweeping right-to-left putt for birdie on No. 10 stopped on the right lip.

After Scott's approach to No. 10, Cabrera turned to offer the Australian a thumbs-up, which Scott returned.

The pair work with a language barrier, but a history of respect. At the 2009 President's Cup, where Scott was a Norman captain's pick and struggled, Cabrera pulled Scott aside and told him he was a great player.

"He's a great person, a great player," Cabrera said. "I get along with him."

Scott emerged from a leaderboard crowded with players searching for their first major. Cabrera and a lingering Woods were the only major winners in contention Sunday.

Third-round leader Brandt Snedeker struggled to adjust to the slower greens and shot 75 to tie for sixth. The 2011 RBC Heritage champion, who plans to drive to Hilton Head Island on Monday morning, said Saturday he felt ready to win a major but knew on the putting green Sunday might be tough.

"I just putted terrible," Snedeker said. "Period."

Australian Jason Day, whose father's dying wish to a 12-year-old Day was to have his ashes scattered at Augusta National, led after a birdie at No. 15 but followed with two bogeys.

Woods, who never recovered from his rules debacle and two-stroke penalty from Friday, never seriously threatened Sunday.

Scott showed he had learned to win a major from his mistakes at Lytham. He played well at the PGA Championship this past August at Kiawah Island, finishing tied for 11th.

Scott credited his father, Phil, who coached his son until he was 19. Phil was there for Scott's collapse at Royal Lytham and emerged from the collapse with the most positive outlook, Scott said.

Father and son hugged in the rain on the 10th hole Sunday.

"He said 'It doesn't get any better than this,' " Scott said.

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