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Great shots prompt roars at Augusta National

April 8, 2012 - 11:13 pm
By Billy Byler |

Augusta National Golf Club’s dogwoods and pines shook with Sunday roars again as the Masters Tournament had another exciting finish.

The day ended in a playoff win for Bubba Watson, and the newly crowned Masters champion sobbed at the 10th hole as chants of “Bubba, Bubba” erupted from the patrons.

The loud roars that have been a signature of the Masters started early Sunday when Bo Van Pelt blistered the course. Though he started the day out of contention at7-over, he eagled the par-5 13th, then hit a hole-in-one on No. 16 to produce the day’s first huge roar.

“After you make a hole-in-one you get so excited,” he said. “You’re just really trying to focus on hitting a good drive on 17.”

Van Pelt finished with the day’s low round at 64, matching a Sunday record at Augusta.

The leaders didn’t waste time producing more roars. Louis Oosthuizen, who pushed Watson to two playoff holes, recorded the first-ever double eagle at the par-5 second hole. Oosthuizen’s 4-iron from 235 yards hit the front of the green, bounced twice and rolled directly into the cup to give the South African the outright lead at 10-under par.

The shock of the moment and sudden spotlight clearly rattled Oosthuizen. Before he could think about it, he flipped the ball into the patrons along the back of the green. An Augusta National spokesman later confirmed that the ball was donated to the club.

“It was tough after that double eagle,” Oosthuizen said. “When something like that happens early in your round, you think that this is it. That was my first double eagle. It was tough the next five holes to just get my head around it and just play the course.”

Other golfers fared better with the patrons behind them. Lee Westwood and Matt Kuchar put together a string of back-nine birdies, eliciting roars that drew the attention of the leaders behind them.

By the time Kuchar followed up back-to-back birdies at Amen Corner with an eagle at No. 15, his sudden share of the lead produced a variation of a Sunday roar. The low rumble of Kuchar fans cheering “Kuuuuu” followed the Georgia Tech product the rest of the day.

“This is my first real experience with being in the hunt on the back nine of Augusta. It’s awesome,” he said. “I don’t know that there’s much else like it. It was truly just a great afternoon.”

The mood among Augusta’s patrons shifted toward Watson, whose late charge of four consecutive birdies on the back nine put him into a tie for the lead.

By the time he beat Oosthuizen on the second hole of a playoff, the realization of a Masters win and the overwhelming support brought him to tears. He said the golf course was set up perfectly to produce exciting shots and loud roars.

“That’s where the golf course is in such good shape,” he said. “It’s a good golf course, a fair golf course but a tough golf course. I think the golf course really just lays it out there for excitement.”

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