After an agonizing 75 minutes in the car driving to my wife’s parents (I love my in-laws, it’s the lack of TV that was agonizing) I am back in front of a TV, ready for the ride. Michele was reading me leaderboard updates from my Blackberry during the trip, and I saw Phil Mickelson had shot a course-tying 30 on the front nine, and was gunning for Perry and Cabrera. During that ride, this 2009 Masters has become one that could be an instant classic.
4:51 Phil Mickelson has gotten 5 under today and is two back of Perry. Tiger is only 3 back!
Woods going for it in two on 15, and he is on with under 20 feet for eagle, which would make him just one back.
4:53 Phil has driven it 343 yards and hits it out of the trees onto the green, just 4 feet away for eagle!!! He is on the verge of tying for the lead, after trailing by 7 starting the day. These guys are just unbelievable!!
Kenny gets a good par on 10, but both he and Cabrera, who also got a par on 10, are going to need a birdie or two (or three) to win the green jacket.
Tiger goes for eagle on 15….just missed on the right. He taps in for birdie and is 9 under, and two back.
Now Phil 4 feet from tying for the lead. He had a good look at Tiger’s putt. He missed it BAAADDD. Unbelievable. Did he choke, or just completely misread? He gets birdie, and now is one back
Tiger and Phil tee of at the par 3 16th. Tiger sticks it within 6 feet. A birdie and he is just one back. You know he’ll make it. Now Phil. His settles about 20 feet away, and Tiger will get a good luck, as his ball is right in Phil’s line. He could make the putt. Of course, Tiger makes it, to get to -10.
5:20 Tiger bogeys 17, but he leaves it short. He is at -9, and is out of it.
5:22 Now Phil for birdie from just 6 feet. He MISSES IT!! Thought it would break right but was dead straight. He remains at -10, two back. He has to birdie and hope for major screw ups from Perry and Cabrera.
5:25 on 13, Chad Campbell leaves an eagle putt two inches short that would have tied him for lead. But the bird puts him just one back.
5:27 Angel Cabrera get on in two on the par 5 13th, but it is a long chance for eagle.
5:30 Tiger dings one off a tree on 18, but then recovers brilliantly to within 6 feet for a par putt.
5:35 Now Kenny – he also reaches the 13th in two, but it’s a long shot for eagle. His first putt rolls 6 feet past, and misses the return for a 3-putt par. Cabrera birdies to get to 10 under, 2 back of Perry.
5:37 Phil bogies 18 – he had all the mo, posting 6 under 30 on the front nine. But he laid a big one on the back nine, going one over. He had a chance to make Masters history, but some short birdie putts missed sealed his fate.
5:39 Tiger misses his putt, to bogey, finishing with a 68, 8 under. Four years without a green jacket for Tiger. That in and of itself is remarkable.
5:40 Perry makes nice approach to 14, getting up to the top ledge. Cabrera also makes a good approach. Each has a decent chance for birdie.
One of these three will win his first green jacket in about 75 minutes.
5:45 Perry misses his birdie on the low side. Cabrera also misses. At two behind Perry, he needs to pick up a shot soon with 4 holes to play. It will be interesting to see how they do on the reachable par 5 530 yard 15th. Cabrera really has to birdie it for any chance, unless Perry chunks it in the water.
Campbell goes for 15 in 2, and he is in great shape – the ball clears the water by a few feet and rolls to about pin high, about 20 feet for eagle, and almost certain birdie, and at least temporary tie for the lead.
5:50 Both Perry and Cabrera boom drives about 340. They will both have midirons to the narrow 15th green. Remember my previous blog – Kenny Perry is about 15 months from being able to joint AARP, and he’s launching his drives with the best of them, many of whom are young enough to be his son!!
5:54 The biggest putt of Chad Campbell’s life…just slides past on the left. He birdies to tie his good friend, Perry, for the lead.
5:56 Kenny Perry has 227 to the hole, 5 iron. Perry BARELY makes it over the hazard. Had it hit 3 inches shorter, it would have hopped backward into the pond. Better be lucky than good, they say. Well if he had gone in the drink, at best he would be tied. But he now has long putt for eagle, and no gimme 2 putt from there, as he is at least 50 feet away. He 3-putted the last par 5 at 13.
5:57 Cabrera misses his approach long right. Two fantastic drives. Two big opportunities missed.
5:59 Chad Campbell is catching fire as the shadows grow longer at Augusta. He almost hits the hole on his tee shot on the par 3 16th, and has a very makeable birdie.
6:01 Shingo Katayama is -9 and is going to cash a very nice check.
6:02 Cabrera shows great touch with a beautiful chip to within a few feet for a likely birdie on 15. Now Perry for eagle. He just wants to get it within 3 feet and walk away with birdie, to get the lead back. Nice putt to within 2 ½ feet. He makes birdie, and has the lead all by himself again – Go Kenny!!
6:06 Can Chad make his birdie on 16 to tie it up again?? NOO. He let it slide on the low side, even though that side was the side with the water, a big misread.
6:07 Cabrera makes his birdie on 15, to stay two back.
6:08 Katayama makes a nice sand save on 17 to tie Phil at -9.
6:09 Cabrera hits 8 iron to the par 3 16th, and the ball curls behind the hole to within 18, definite birdie opportunity. Biggest shot of Perry’s career…he puts it 2 feet from the hole!!! For a second I thought it was going in. Talk about a clutch shot. He started walking as soon as he hit it; he knew he caught it pure. That shot could be the one to win him the jacket and a piece of history. As they walk to the green, Cabrera gives Kenny a thumbs up – very classy.
6:14 Cabrera makes his birdie. So he is one back for about 10 seconds. Perry taps in his birdie. He’s up by two with two to play. Can he hold it together?
6:15 Campbell leaves his approach to 17 in the front bunker. So really now Perry needs only to par 17 and 18 to win, because unless Campbell holes it out form the trap, and then birdies the difficult 18, there aren’t enough holes to catch up.
6:18 Perry sprays his drive on 17 to the right. I would have nightmares if I had to tee off from that tee box at 17. The chute looks about 10 yards wide. Cabrera hits the fairway.
6:19 Shingo birdies 18 to finish at -10. Maybe there will be a run on cowboy hats. Seems like a good guy.
6:21 Perry up by two over Campbell and Cabrera. Campbell gets sand save and stays at -11.
6:23 Perry flies over the green. It will be a tough downhill pitch.
6:26 Perry chips it way past the hole and it rolls to the bottom edge of the green. Two putts for bogey, and still one ahead. Pull it together…he leaves it 3 feet below the hole.
6:29. Campbell from the right rough, 168 yards, makes a great approach, and gives him self a chance for birdie at 18.
6:30 Perry guts it out and makes that 3 footer for bogey. Cabrera makes par, and is one behind.
I can hear Bill Murray right now saying “Kenny Perry, age 48, one shot ahead, about to become ….Masters Champion.” But par on 18 is no easy assignment.
6:32 Cabrera hits great drive at 18. Perry now readies for the biggest drive of his life. He hits it in the left fairway bunker. That hole did not set up well for him. It requires a fade off the tee, and Perry prefers a draw, and he just drew it right into the fairway bunker. The course tests your ability to hit all of the shots, which is why the very best golfers tend to win this event year after year.
6:34 Chad just misses birdie on 18, finishing with a 3 under 69. But don’t go too far, Chad. You’re one back, with the leader in the bunker. This is far from over.
6:37 Cabrera lifted up a bit on his approach and left it short right of the green. Perry from the trap, hits it left of the green, with a trap between him and the green. Chad Campbell is looking really good right now.
If things go as one would think, we could have a three way playoff. But if Kenny can make a nearly impossible chip, and make the putt, he is the winner. He hits it 15 feet past and gives himself a chance.
6:42 Cabrera, with a superb short game, cozies it to within a couple of feet for a par.
6:44 Perry lines up this putt for a place in history…he misses by 2 inches. Had he hit it a little harder, it would have kept its line. PLAYOFF!!
6:45 Can Cabrera join the party? He sinks the 6-footer, and pumps his fist. YES!! Three way sudden death playoff.
They go to the 18th for the first playoff hole. Campbell and Perry both hit nice drives in the fairway. Cabrera sprays it in to the trees on the right. He is in jail, as they say. He has to pitch out and hope the other guys don’t stick theirs too close.
Perry cannot repeat the beautiful 8 irons he it into this green on Friday and Saturday, as he leaves the ball short and right. Campbell also sprays his right and goes in the trap. Both are unforced errors, especially considering the pin was nowhere near the right side of the green.
Cabrera casually pitches his shot to within 6 feet. Perry chips it almost in the hole. Campbell makes a much better sand shot than he did on 18 yesterday when he gave back two shots, as his ball settled about 5 feet past the hole. Perry taps in for 4, putting the pressure on Cabrera and Campbell. Angel answers the call with his 6-footer, as Perry applauds. IT is so refreshing to watch a sporting event and see competitors, vying for the Holy Grail of golf titles, applauding each other’s efforts. Can Campbell join in?…..no. His slides past. Cabrera and Perry, the final paring of round 4, are the only two left, as they move to the par 4 10th.
On this 2nd playoff hole, both golfers drive into the fairway and have mid-irons to the green. Perry hits first… ouch! His draw went into overdrive under the pressure of the moment as he pulled it left of the green well below the hole.
Can Cabrera capitalize? He has seemed very unfazed by the pressure. He spends very little time sizing up the shot, trusts his swing, and hits a high fade that lands on the green about 20 feet below the hole.
Perry’s pitch to the green rolls well past, and his hopes of being the oldest Masters Champion are fading very quickly.
Perry is still away. The words a golfer never likes to hear – You’re still away. Unless Perry makes this long putt, a very tall order indeed, Cabrera will be the champ. Perry’s putt misses. Cabrera putts his two feet past, and chooses to putt out. He sinks his par putt, to become the first Argentinean Masters Champion. With a U.S. Open title already under his belt, Cabrera now becomes one of a handful of players in the past 20 years to win two or more different majors. I look to him to be a real force for years to come. He has the game and the temperament to thrive in the pressure cooker environment of major championships.
Too bad for Kenny Perry. He had it, and lost it. Augusta can do that to the best of them. But he was very gracious, and I am sure he will still be one of the top golfers of the year.
What a ride!!