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April 8 2012

11:44 PM

Bubba Watson wins Masters in a playoff

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Bubba Watson examines his ball prior to hitting the key shot in the second playoff hole.

By staff and wire reports

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Louis Oosthuizen hit one of the most historic shots in Masters history. But it was playing partner Bubba Watson who walked away with the Green Jacket.

Watson beat Oosthuizen with a par on the second hole of the playoff to win his first major championship.

“I  never got this far in my dreams,” an emotional Watson said during the Green Jacket ceremony at Butler Cabin.

The left-handed Watson hit a few of his own spectacular shots, none more important than his approach on the second playoff hole that set up an easy two-putt par. Watson had found trouble off the tee at the 10th, but it was Oosthuizen who bogeyed the hole when his approach came up short of the green.

"I was there earlier today in regulation,” Watson said of his shot off the pine straw. “I hooked it 40 yards . I’m pretty good at hooking it.”

The playoff capped a spectacular back-nine performance in which Watson birdied four consecutive holes after a bogey at the 12th dropped him two shots behind Oosthuizen.

Watson had lost a playoff to Martin Kaymer for the 2010 PGA Championship, but now has his first major. Since 2003, five Masters have been won by left-handers – one by Mike Weir, three by Phil Mickelson, and now by Watson.

With the win, Watson moves to second in FedExCup points.

Both Watson and Oosthuizen finished regulation at 10-under 278.

With his bubble gum-pink driver and his all-white outfit, Watson is one of those guys who stands out and he did, indeed, at Augusta National. After missing a 10-foot putt that would have won it on the 18th green in the first playoff hole, he pushed one so far right, it was actually behind the gallery.

No punching it out on this day. Instead, he lined it up, curved it in and when Oosthuizen couldn't get up and down from in front of the green, Watson simply had to two-putt to capture the green jacket.

He almost made the first one, rolling it a few inches past the hole. As the crowd began cheering, he held out his hand to playfully calm down everyone, then tapped it in. The tears started flowing immediately.

"He hit an unbelievable shot there," Oosthuizen said. "I played well. This is not one I felt like I played badly. Great stuff to him. He deserves it."

Oosthuizen grabbed the lead with a double eagle at the par-5 second -- the first albatross at that hole in Masters history. He held the lead by himself for the next three hours, 10 minutes until Matt Kuchar tied him with an eagle at the par-5 15th.

Less than 10 minutes later, though, Oosthuizen regained the lead by himself by making one of several clutch putts on the day, this one for birdie at the 15th to go to 10 under.

Playing partner Watson also birdied the hole to move to 9 under. Watson then followed with another birdie to gain a share of the lead by making birdie at the par-3 16th.

Both players then parred the final two holes in regulation. Watson had a good look at birdie at the 72nd hole after hitting his approach shot pin high, but his putt stayed to the right.

In the playoff, both players hit excellent approach shots to the 18th, with Watson's ball landing inside Oosthuizen's. While Oosthuizen missed his putt to the right, Watson followed with a miss to the right.

On the second playoff hole, the par-4 10th, Watson's drive found the pine straw to the right of the fairway. Oosthuizen's drive also went right, but kicked near the fairway, leaving him a shot of 231 yards. His approach came up short of the green, though.

From 153 yards, Watson then shaped a wedge shot that landed on the green. Oosthuizen’s chip left him outside of Watson’s ball and he could not drain the par putt.

As for the others contenders?

Peter Hanson, the 54-hole leader, bogeyed two of his first three holes en route to shooting 73.

Phil Mickelson, the three-time Masters champ who was one shot back of playing partner Hanson when the round begin, suffered his second triple bogey of the week when he found trouble at the par-3 fourth. He tried to hit out of the brush right-handed, but had to take another stroke, then found the bunker.

Mickelson fought hard to get back into the mix with birdies at the par-5 13th and 15th holes but could never get closer than two strokes in shooting even-par 72.

Lee Westwood shot 32 on the back nine to finish at 8 under, good enough for a tie for third with Kuchar (69), Hanson and Mickelson.

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