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Bubba Strikes Again

Sent on Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bubba golf proved too much again for the competition at Augusta National Golf Club.

Bubba Watson won his second Masters title and second tournament of the 2013-14 PGA TOUR season earlier this month with a hard-fought three-stroke victory. Watson, 35, who needed a spectacular shot two years ago to subdue Louis Oosthuizen in a playoff, merely needed a bunch of good shots this time, and he was up to the challenge, holding off 2013 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth and another first-time Masters participant, Jonas Blixt of Sweden.

"This one's a lot different," said Watson, who shot a final-round 69 on a sunny afternoon in Augusta, Ga., and posted 8-under 280. "The first one, for me, it was almost like I lucked into it."

It didn't take luck this time, that's for sure. When the final round began, Watson was in a tie with Spieth, while seven other players were within three shots, including 2013 Memorial Tournament winner Matt Kuchar. In fact, Kuchar briefly surged into the lead with a pair of early birdies before the 78th edition of the Masters became a two-man show.

Spieth, 20, was trying to eclipse five-time Memorial winner Tiger Woods as the youngest Masters champion, and he was doing a swell job when he forged a two-stroke lead through seven holes with four birdies, including a hole-out from a greenside bunker at the par-3 fourth.

Watson bounced back, however, seizing control with birdies at 8 and 9 while Spieth bogeyed them both. When Spieth also bogeyed the 12th after hitting into the water, Watson knew he could play conservatively, even with his prodigious power, and for the most part that's what he did in riding the wave to his second green jacket.

"After giving it away last year, I wanted it back," Watson said. "I told Adam (Scott) we could just swap it back and forth every year."

"That was fun, but at the same time, it hurts right now," Spieth said. "I wanted to get in contention on the back nine Sunday, but didn't come out on top."

Spieth shot a final-round 72 while Blixt snuck into a share of second place with a 1-under 71, making him only the second Masters rookie to shoot four rounds under par. The other is Fuzzy Zoeller, who did it in 1979, the last time a rookie won the green jacket. 

Miguel Angel Jimenez, the popular 50-year-old Spaniard, shot 71 and finished alone in fourth, the best showing by a senior player since Sam Snead tied for third in 1963 at age 51. Kuchar, after a 74, tied for fifth with Rickie Fowler, who shot 73.

Watson won earlier this year at the Northern Trust Open by shooting a pair of 64s on the weekend at Riviera Country Club. That set him up for his Masters run. The next major on the calendar is the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina. 

Before that, he intends to play in the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance. Watson was among the earliest entries for the 39th edition of Jack Nicklaus' prestigious invitational.

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