Bubba Watson wins second Masters


AUGUSTA, Ga. -- He swings out of his shoes with a pink-shafted driver, his golf ball traveling distances that are awed and admired. Bubba Golf, it is called, often with disbelief and wonder.

For all his quirkiness, including the homemade swing and the rambling interviews and the -- believe it or not -- Twitter conversations with his followers on the morning of the final round of a major championship he is leading, Bubba Watson is a remarkable talent.

Watson put his ability on full display Sunday, shooting a final-round 69 at Augusta National to pull away from Jordan Spieth on the back nine and win his second Masters in three years.

Only eight other players have won the Masters in such a short span -- including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jack Nicklaus.

"It's overwhelming," said Watson, the only player in the top seven to shoot in the 60s in the final round. "To win twice, to be with those great names. ... A small-town guy named Bubba now has two green jackets. It's pretty wild."

No doubt. Watson, from tiny Bagdad, Fla., overcame a slow start and rallied from a two-shot deficit through seven holes to lead by two at the turn.

He was never caught, playing steady, hitting a mammoth 366-yard drive at the par-5 13th to set up a birdie -- "His drive on 13 I'll never forget," Spieth said -- then pulling off a risky shot at the 15th to keep his advantage.

Unlike two years ago, when Watson won in a sudden-death playoff over Louis Oosthuizen with a crazy shot from the trees on the 10th hole, he could stroll up the 18th with the victory in hand.

"This one was a lot better for me and my nerves and my family," Watson quipped.

Spieth shot a final-round 72 to tie for second with Sweden's Jonas Blixt, who had 71. Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez, 50, tied for fourth, four shots back, after a final-round 71.

Matt Kuchar (74) held the lead early and Rickie Fowler (73) made a brief run before finishing tied for fifth, six strokes back.

"This place suits him perfectly," said Fowler, one of Watson's best friends on tour and there to greet him when he came off the 18th green. "I think of the shot he hit in the playoff a couple years ago. I was down there today actually and I pitched out. He's able to hit golf shots around here that some guys can't.

"So this place fits him perfectly. It's fitting for him to win here."

In doing so, Watson denied Spieth a different kind of history. At age 20, he would have been the youngest to win the Masters, the youngest to win a major championship since Tom Creavy at the 1931 PGA Championship, and the first since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 to capture the Masters in his first attempt.

"It was an incredible experience," Spieth said. "It was one that I always wanted to have. I've always dreamed about it. As a little kid, I always dreamed of playing at Augusta on Sunday and closing out the tournament."

He was unable to do the latter. Spieth got away with poor drives at the first and second holes, pulling ahead with a birdie at the second. When Watson bogeyed the third, Spieth had a two-shot lead.

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