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AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Charl Schwartzel gave this Masters a finish it deserved.
On an amazing Sunday at Augusta National, where the roars came from everywhere and for everyone and didn't stop until it was over, Schwartzel emerged from the madness by becoming the first Masters champion to close with four straight birdies.
His final putt from 20 feet curled into the side of the cup for a 6-under 66, the best closing round at the Masters in 22 years. It gave the 26-year-old South African a two-shot victory over Australians Adam Scott and Jason Day.
"Just an exciting day," Schwartzel said. "So many roars, and that atmosphere out there was just incredible. A phenomenal day."
Indeed, this final round had it all.
First came a fist-pumping charge by Tiger Woods, who erased a seven-shot deficit in nine holes only to go flat on the back nine. Then came the stunning collapse of 21-year-old Rory McIlroy, who put his name in Masters lore for all the wrong reasons.
Still leading by one shot as he headed to the back nine, McIlroy hit a tee shot next to the cabins left of the 10th fairway and twice hit a tree to make triple bogey. He three-putted from 7 feet for bogey on the 11th, four-putted from about 12 feet on the next hole and buried his head into his forearm as the shock began to settle in.
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