Sunday, April 8, 2007

Augusta Masters 2007

Zach Johnson has captured his first major title today, winning the Masters at Augusta National by two strokes over Tiger Woods, Retief Goosen and Rory Sabbatini.

Johnson shot an impressive, three-under 69 on Sunday to finish at one-over-par 289, which matched the highest winning score in Masters history.

PGA Tour logoThis was Johnson's second PGA Tour win after his inaugural victory at the 2004 BellSouth Classic.

The favorite going into the final round was Tiger Woods, not just because of his four previous green jackets, but also because he was in the final pairing with third-round leader Stuart Appleby. The last 16 Masters champions came from the final pairing.

Johnson bucked the trend in the third-to-last twosome with close friend Vaughn Taylor. He made a beautiful par save from right off the green at the 18th to get in at plus-one. Johnson then waited as Woods had to make up two strokes in two holes to force a playoff.

At the 17th, Woods found the right first cut and hit a shot that came up short in a bunker. He thought the wind would take it to the flag, but it did not. Woods blasted out to four feet and drained the par putt, meaning he needed to hole out his second shot at the closing hole.

Woods found the fairway off 18 then hit his approach 25 feet right.

That sealed the title and green jacket for Johnson.

Johnson's previous best finish in a major championship came at the 2005 PGA Championship where he tied for 17th. He tied for 32nd last year at Augusta, the only other time he made the cut at the Masters.

For Woods, this was his third runner-up finish in a major championship. He came in second to Rich Beem at the 2002 PGA Championship and Michael Campbell at the 2005 U.S. Open.

Masters of Augusta 2007Woods shot an even-par 72 and tied for second place with Sabbatini and two- time U.S. Open champion Goosen at plus-three. Sabbatini and Goosen both held at least a piece of the lead on Sunday as both shot 69s.

Jerry Kelly (70) and Justin Rose (73) shared fifth place at plus-four. Appleby only managed a three-over 75 on Sunday and tied for seventh with Padraig Harrington, who carded a one-over 73. That group came in at five-over-par 293, one shot better than 2001 PGA Champion David Toms, who took ninth after an even-par 72 on Sunday.

Last year's Masters champion and the winner in 2004, Phil Mickelson ended his chances at victory rather abruptly. He triple-bogeyed the first hole en route to a five-over 77 and a share of 24th place.