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How recent Masters have been won

9:54 AM, Apr 14, 2013   |    comments
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Augusta, GA (Sports Network) - With four players entering Sunday within three strokes of co-leaders Brandt Snedeker and Angel Cabrera, it seems the trend of the Masters winners not coming out of the final group could continue.

The winner in each of the last two years at Augusta has come from outside the final pairing, and that seems to bode well for the three Australians in the mix trying to become the first Aussie to put on the green jacket.

Adam Scott and Jason Day, who enter the final round in third and fourth respectively, are looking for redemption after tying for second in 2011.

Marc Leishman is also trying to snap the streak and sits tied with Day two strokes off the pace.

Standing in their way, however, is Snedeker and Cabrera.

All Cabrera seems to do is win majors. The Argentine has just two victories on the PGA Tour in his career, but they came at the 2009 Masters and 2007 U.S. Open Championship.

Snedeker, meanwhile, is cruising this season with four top-3 finishes, including a victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and looks to be healthy again after missing several events due to a rib injury.

Not to be forgotten is three-time champion Tiger Woods, who is four shots off the pace.

Woods would be just two strokes behind the leaders, but he was assessed a 2- stroke penalty before his third round due to an illegal drop on No. 15 on Friday.

His personal history is not on his side, though, as Woods has never come from behind to win a major.

There should be no shortage of drama during a final round that should keep alive the old saying, the Masters doesn't really get underway until the back nine on Sunday.

With that in mind, here's how some recent Masters have been won:

BUBBA'S SPECTACULAR PLAYOFF WIN (2012)

Bubba Watson had birdied four straight in his back nine to force a playoff with Louis Oosthuizen, but his most memorable feat of the day came on the decisive second playoff hole.

After both players parred the first playoff, the left-handed Watson badly pulled his drive at the 10th tee into the trees on the right as Oosthuizen's drive landed in the first cut.

From the pine straw, Watson hit a Masters shot that will be remembered forever when he hooked a shot around the trees that settled 10 feet from the hole.

"I had a good lie, had a gap where I had to hook it 40 yards or something. I just hooked it up there, somehow, it nestled close to the hole," Watson said about his shot.

Oosthuizen's second then ran 12 feet past the hole and following a missed par putt by the 2010 Open Champion, Watson calmly 2-putted for his first major victory and immediately broke down in tears to celebrate his first major victory.

SCHWARTZEL'S AMAZING CLOSE (2011)

Never was the aforementioned notion about the Masters not starting until the back nine on Sunday more apropos than it was in 2011.

For Tiger Woods, a four-time Masters winner, the back nine would be where his rally would come to a screeching halt, and for 54-hole leader Rory McIlroy, the back nine on Sunday would be the site of his massive collapse.

However, both were over-shadowed by a South African that wasn't supposed to be able to do what he did.

In Sunday's final round, Charl Schwartzel was one of just eight players that held at least a piece of the lead.

Schwartzel had won six times on the European Tour, and five other times on the Sunshine Tour in his homeland of South Africa. But, in his 17th start in a major championship, he did what no player had done in Masters history.

Trailing Adam Scott by a stroke on the par-five 15th, Schwartzel got up and down for birdie from over the green to match Scott atop the leaderboard. After Scott stuffed his tee shot to two feet at 16 to set up birdie, Schwartzel drained a 15-footer for birdie to match the Australian at minus-12.

Scott stumbled to a bogey on No. 17 and that opened the door for Schwartzel. He didn't just take advantage, he crushed everyone else's hopes. Schwartzel followed his previous two birdies with two more at 17 and 18.

In doing so, Schwartzel became the first Masters champion to birdie the final four holes and claim the green jacket.

Afterwards, he had a perfect summation for the final round, "It was a phenomenal day."

PHIL'S EMOTIONAL VICTORY (2010)

Phil Mickelson hadn't won a major since 2006, and his personal life had taken a turn for the worse with both his wife and mother dealing with cancer. He was somewhat of a public favorite because of his dedication to his family, and he came from behind to defeat Lee Westwood by three strokes for his third green jacket and fourth major championship overall.

He trailed Westwood by five on Saturday when he made what is now a famed approach at the 13th around the trees, eventually making birdie at the hole to begin his climb up the leaderboard.

Mickelson still trailed by one entering Sunday's final round, but caught up with a birdie at the eighth. After Westwood bogeyed the ninth, Mickelson had a one-shot lead, one he didn't relinquish.

Anthony Kim and Fred Couples made late charges on Sunday, but both fell off by the end of the day. Mickelson birdied the 12th and 13th to increase his lead to two over Westwood.

A birdie by Mickelson at the 15th created a three-shot gap with three holes to play, and he finished with a final-round 67 to win the event going away.

A tearful Mickelson embraced his wife following the win, his third in seven years at Augusta National.

FLAWED FINISH KILLS KENNY (2009)

Kenny Perry was two holes from making history at the Masters. Sticking his tee ball to tap-in range at the par-three 16th -- the shot of a lifetime -- Perry grabbed a two-shot lead with only two holes remaining.

At the age of 48 years, eight months and two days old, Perry was not only looking to pass Jack Nicklaus as the oldest Masters champion, but also looking to supplant Julius Boros as the oldest winner at any major.

But he made his first bogey in 22 holes at the 17th, then another at the 18th to surrender his lead and force a three-way playoff with Angel Cabrera and Chad Campbell.

Perry, the picture of career resurgence heading into Augusta, was eventually defeated by Cabrera, who needed only a par on the second playoff hole to win (Campbell was knocked out on the first extra hole).

It marked Cabrera's second major championship after the 2007 U.S. Open -- a pair of victories notable for being the Argentine's only titles on the PGA Tour.

Cabrera may have won the tournament, but Perry's flawed finish is the image that remains.

"You have to hand it to him," Perry said afterward. "He was fighting just as hard as I was out there."

IMPECCABLE IMMELMAN (2008)

In 2008, Trevor Immelman became only the fifth player to win the Masters in wire-to-wire fashion, and the first since Seve Ballesteros in 1980. He became the second South African to don the green jacket after his idol, Gary Player, who called him Saturday night to offer encouragement.

Immelman did it by building a lead he could not lose on the back nine -- not even to the four-time champion Woods. Immelman carried a five-shot lead to the 14th hole and finished with a three-over 75 that was good enough to beat Woods by three strokes.

"I'm so proud of myself," Immelman said. "I actually still can't believe that I got that done."

ZACH'S WEDGE ATTACK (2007)

The previous 16 Masters champions had all come from the final pairing when Zach Johnson bucked that trend in 2007 while playing in the third-to last group on Sunday.

Johnson's game plan was out of step with the conventional wisdom that bombers who can reach Augusta's par-fives in two shots have a better chance to win.

He never went for the green, opting instead to lay up to ideal distances for his wedge. Shooting a three-under 69 in the final round, he won by two shots over Woods, Retief Goosen and Rory Sabbatini.

"I'm a Midwest guy from Iowa and this is what it's about," Johnson said.

PHIL'S SUNDAY STROLL (2006)

Mickelson needed an 18-foot birdie putt to win his first Masters title in 2004. Two years later, he had more time to relish slipping into the green jacket for the second time in three seasons.

Lefty walked up the 18th fairway with a three-shot lead in '06 and won by two strokes over Tim Clark after posting a three-under 69 in the final round -- his first score in the 60s all week.

It was Mickelson's second consecutive major title after the 2005 PGA Championship -- sparking conversation that he could match Woods' "Tiger Slam." His collapse at the U.S. Open two months later brought an end to that speculation.

"The stress-free walk up 18 was incredible," Mickelson said after the '06 Masters. "I actually wanted a four- or five-shot lead, but three was OK, too. It was a great feeling walking up there, knowing I had the tournament in hand."

"IN YOUR LIFE ...!" (2005)

Woods produced the all-time Masters highlight in 2005 with his remarkable chip-in birdie at the par-three 16th on Sunday. Pulling his tee shot left of the green, he needed to play nearly 30 feet of left-to-right break to get the ball close to the hole.

After picking a spot on the green where sunshine was hitting the surface through the nearby trees, Woods chipped up and waited. The ball skipped, rolled down towards the hole, then slowed to a stop at the edge of the cup.

When it fell in, Verne Lundquist gave us his chilling "In your LIFE have you seen anything like that?" call.

The shot was also a pretty good unintentional ad for Nike, whose logo could be seen as the ball teetered on the lip.

Woods eventually beat Chris DiMarco in a playoff for his fourth Masters crown, but it was the shot at 16 that we still remember.

"I figured I need to get this thing at least up-and-down, give myself a chance to make a par," Woods said. "All of a sudden, it looked pretty good, and all of a sudden, it looked really good. And it looked like how could it not go in, and how did it not go in, and all of a sudden it went in."

MICKELSON'S ONE SMALL LEAP, ONE GIANT STEP (2004)

Mickelson was the "Best Player Never to Win a Major" before he broke through at the 2004 Masters.

Rolling in a downhill, 18-footer on the 18th green to beat Ernie Els by a shot, Lefty became just the fourth player in Masters history to birdie the 72nd hole to win the championship.

Mickelson's celebration? A small, borderline awkward, legs-apart leap into the air that has since become his trademarked logo.

The victory snapped an 0-for-46 drought at the four major championships for Mickelson, who had finished third in the previous three Masters. He had also been runner-up twice at the U.S. Open and once at the PGA Championship.

"In the past 10 years, to have come so close and fallen short or having people make critical putts against me, makes this difficult journey towards my first major title so much sweeter," said Mickelson, who now owns four major championships.

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