KENNY Perry was bidding to become the oldest winner in Masters history last night after a late, dramatic charge from Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson came up short at Augusta National.
The 48-year-old from Kentucky was bidding to become not only the oldest Masters champion — beating Jack Nicklaus’s record of 46 in 1986 — but also the oldest golfer to win a major.
The last thing a nervy Perry and joint overnight leader Angel Cabrera needed as they approached Amen Corner last night was to hear the massive roars emanating from an area of the golf course they knew was occupied by Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
The golden couple were playing together and were 12 under par together until Woods slipped from contention with a bogey after a pulled drive on 17. Mickelson’s dramatic charge — which had survived a double bogey on the par three 12th — was derailed by missing two crucial short putts at 15 (for eagle) and 17 (for birdie).
That left the door open for Perry and his pursuers Cabrera and Chad Campbell to take advantage but after Perry reached the par 5 13th in two, he failed to take advantage and walked off with par.
Mickelson completed the opening nine holes in a record equalling six under par for the final day of the Masters. Greg Norman also did so in 1988. The iron shot that “Lefty” hooked around the trees to 18 inches at the fifth was the stuff of which dreams are made and for a time Tiger was left in his slipstream.
Woods was himself out in 33 and was ready to pounce when Mickelson made the kind of mistake that has dogged him throughout his glorious if under achieving career. He caught his nine iron tee shot to the short 12th a tad heavy but that was enough to see the ball spin back into Rae’s Creek.
Meanwhile, Graeme McDowell produced a splendid final round of 69 to get to four under for the tournament and become the leading European in the clubhouse.
“I feel like I’ve come on a lot as a golfer and learned how to plot myself around courses like this. I realise my short game has to get better and it’s still a work in progress. I’ve got a long way before hopefully I can slip a green jacket on. I was a three out of ten four years ago, now maybe I’m a six out of ten.”
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