The Shots That Defined the Masters

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The Shots That Defined the Masters

April 07, 2012

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Bubba Watson's approach shot, second playoff hole, SundayJust when you thought nothing could top Louis Oosthuizen's double eagle on the second hole Sunday, there was Watson's remarkable save out of the right trees in the gloaming Sunday night. With Oosthuizen just short of the green and trees blocking Watson's direct path to the green, Watson tapped into his vast imagination, hooking a wedge some 40 yards around the trees and onto the green. Oosthuizen must have been stunned, because he couldn't get up and down for par, giving Watson two putts for an inspirational Masters win.

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Louis Oosthuizen's tee shot, second playoff hole, SundayWith Bubba Watson having already hit a wild drive, the door appeared wide open for Oosthuizen to claim his second major championship. But the normally accurate South African followed his playing partner right with a wayward 3-wood. While his ball kicked out into the first cut of rough, it still left him a long approach, which he subsequently left short on his way. When he failed to get up and down for par, Oosthuizen had to watch Watson easily two-putt for the win.

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Oosthuizen's par putt, 18th hole, SundayThe South African is mostly known for his technically-perfect golf swing, but on Sunday, it was his putter that bailed him out on several occasions. That was especially the case on the final hole of regulation, when he needed to make a five-footer to keep his hopes alive and get into a playoff. Unfortunately for him, he hit two great-looking putts that didn't drop during the extra holes, but his all-around game, especially under such pressure, showed he should probably have more chances at majors down the road.

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Watson's second shot, 17th hole, SundayAfter a torrid stretch of four-straight birdies on the back nine, the last of which tied him for the lead after 16 holes, Watson pushed his drive on 17 left and into the pines, seemingly without a clean look at the green. But Watson found a window, pulling out a wedge and sending his approach over the trees and onto the green. He would lip out the birdie putt, but it was still the shot that maintained his momentum, allowing him to keep pace with Oosthuizen and squeak into the playoff.

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Peter Hanson's tee shot, 12th hole, SundayHow does Sunday pressure at the Masters impact seasoned professionals? This is how. Hanson, the 54-hole leader, had surrendered the lead to Oosthuizen early on Sunday, but still found himself just a shot back when he reached the tee on the famed par-3 12th. But then it happened: A shanked 8-iron that squirted right and short of Rae's Creek. Hanson pitched up and managed to sneak out with a bogey, but not without some lingering scars.

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Phil Mickelson's second shot, fourth hole, SundayAfter watching Oosthuizen jump into the lead with his second-hole albatross, Mickelson's rash decision-making on the par-3 fourth proved devastating. In missing the green badly to the left, Mickelson saw his ball carom off the grandstand railing and land deep into the bamboo. That's when things got really interesting. Unable to make a full swing, Mickelson thrashed at his ball right-handed and saw it barely move. He took another righty swing that only made it to the fringe. A triple bogey dropped him to five under, and he spent the rest of the afternoon playing catch up.

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Oosthuizen's second shot, second hole, SundayTwo shots off the lead to start the day, Oosthuizen hit a 4-iron from 253 yards that found the mouth of second green and fed 100 feet before dropping into the cup for the first-ever double eagle on the hole. The albatross vaulted Oosthuizen into the lead, which he kept or shared for the rest of the day until losing on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff. The shot won't carry the same significance that it would have if he had held on for the win, but it will still go down as one of the most memorable in Masters history.

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Rory McIlroy's tee shot, first hole, SaturdayAt four-under par and near the top of an otherwise uninspiring leader board, the reigning U.S. Open champion looked like the guy to beat heading into the weekend at Augusta National. Instead, McIlroy's Masters demons from the year before resurfaced on Saturday. He pushed his drive right and into the pine straw, had to punch out and ended up making double bogey. He never recovered, and with a third-round 77, McIlroy saw his Masters chances fizzle once again.

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Tiger Woods' tee shot, 16th hole, FridayWoods had struggled on Thursday but still clawed out an even-par 72. Friday was different. With his putting and ball-striking confounding him all day, Woods' frustration continued to mount on Friday, and when his 9-iron on the par-3 16th found the bunker, Woods let loose. He dropped his 9-iron to the ground, then kicked it, leading to this memorable call from CBS' Nick Faldo: "I think we can officially say Tiger Woods has lost his game...and his mind."

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Lee Westwood's par putt, 18th hole, FridayStill in search of his first major championship, Westwood had a one-shot lead when he arrived at the 18th tee on Friday. But he made a mess from there. After his par putt from 15 feet above the hole skirted past the cup, Westwood missed the ensuing three-footer. The double bogey knocked him out of the lead, and seemed to deflate Westwood's chances of catching up.

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Mickelson's birdie putt, 18th hole, ThursdayFor all of his early-season momentum and positive vibes at Augusta National, Mickelson began this Masters with a thud, playing his first 10 holes in 4-over par. But he inched his way back over the back nine, and when he rolled in his birdie putt on 18 to close out a 74, the day felt like a victory.

Photo By: Tim Dominick/The State/MCT

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