2014 Masters: Live Report
published : 14 Apr 2014 at 01:49
22:41 GMT - 18th HOLE - Bubba Watson leads by three shots from Jordan Spieth and Jonas Blixt at the final hole.
22:37 GMT - Pump action - Fist pump from Bubba Watson as he makes par. That reaction said it all; he knew he needed to produce after that touch of magic from Spieth, who also made par. And it's to the final hole...
22:34 GMT - Spectacular Spieth - What a shot! Then Spieth pulls out the bag an absolute beauty that pings to within a few feet of the pin after threatening at one stage to plop straight in. Terrific stuff from the 20-year-old talent.
22:30 GMT - Spieth into the crowds - Spieth's challenge is disintegrating almost shot by shot. This time his drive ends up in the crowds, and he ends up crouching following the wayward shot. He looks done-in. In contrast, Bubba Watson's shot is very solid. He is a picture of composure as he walks down the fairway, taking in the generous applause but not acknowledging it.
22:26 GMT - Blixt holds nerve - Kuchar and Blixt are at the putting green on the 17th. Kuchar cards a bogey, but Blixt holds his nerve to make par and keep up the heat on Spieth. Blixt needs birdie or better on the 18th to stay in the hunt of snatching an unlikely victory.
22:21 GMT - Chance goes begging - We are at the 16th with Jordan Spieth -- who gives up yet another presentable birdie opportunity. Watson then comes agonizingly close to a birdie of his own, but the ball just doesn’t quite behave itself. It matters not as Watson holds Spieth at bay with two holes to play and he has one arm in the sleeve of that green jacket.
22:18 GMT - Jaded Jordan - Frustration from Spieth as he senses his big chance is almost over. His tee shot falls within feet of his playing partner's but he needs even better than that if he is going to produce something special here. He may look downcast now, but surely in reflection Spieth will know this has been a pivotal week in his career.
22:13 GMT - Groans - Huge miss! Jordan Spieth just gave up a great chance for a birdie at the par-five 15th that means Watson will head to the 16th with his three-shot lead still intact. Spieth needs something spectacular now if he is to make history as the youngest Masters winner in history.
22:09 GMT - No time to smile - So where are we? Watson leads by three from Spieth and Blixt with three and a bit holes to play at the 78th Masters. Spieth's approach at the 15th is very decent, and his grinning caddy tells him so. The 20-year-old American though is a picture of concentration as he strides on.
22:05 GMT - Brave Bubba - Bubba Watson in deep consultation with his caddy over what looks a tricky drive out of the long grass. Audacious from Watson! He thumps out through trees, over the water and beyond the pin. He almost hit that too well. Brute strength from the American, not to mention real cheek to try that shot in that situation. The stuff of a Masters winner once more?
22:01 GMT - Blixt not quite - Watson's tee shot at the 15th is not the best; Spieth's is better. Blixt meanwhile shakes his head as he gives up a birdie chance and has to settle for par. Big missed chance for the Swede to really threaten Watson for a sniff of the lead.
21:57 GMT - Four to go - That's par again for leader Bubba Watson at the 14th, with just four holes to go. He maintains that three-shot lead over Jordan Spieth, his playing partner, and Jonas Blixt. Can Watson hold his nerve for a second Masters win in three years? Can Spieth claw it back? Or can Blixt sneak out of nowhere?
21:52 GMT - Koooooch! - AFP's Jim Slater, at an increasingly overcast Augusta, points out that the American Kuchar, who is doggedly hanging in there, is not being booed by the galleries. "They are yelling Koooooch!" Slater reassures me.
21:49 GMT - 'Not good enough' - Rory McIlroy, who came to Augusta as favorite in the absence of injured Tiger Woods, seems upbeat despite never really threatening to get his hands on that prized green jacket. He tweets: "Not the week I wanted but know what I need to do next year. Even par for the par 5's wasn't good enough! Can't wait for 2015!"
21:45 GMT - Blixt tied 2nd - Jonas Blixt, the 29-year-old from Sweden, has been solid all week, but he is more spectacular on the par-five 13th, where he marks his card with a birdie to grab a share of second with Spieth. Matt Kuchar is one shot further back.
21:41 GMT - Watson clear - And now it's Watson's turn to grimace, as he falls several feet short of the pin with his attempted putt. Spieth's turn at the 13th for a birdie... No! The ball ambles inches past the hole and he cards par with his next try, failing to close that lead on Watson. Then Watson digs deep for birdie and a three-shot lead with five holes to go at the 78th Masters.
21:38 GMT - Half-hearted - Lovely stuff from Spieth at the 13th, again playing himself out of trouble. He musters a half-hearted smile for the crowd but no more than that. How they'd love to see him triumph. He needs to hold his nerve here. He is still very much in it.
21:34 GMT - Close, no cigar? - No cigar today, but Jimenez is sporting a very fine pair of reflective sun glasses. He cards a birdie at the 14th, meanwhile Spieth gets his tee all wrong and ends up in the trees. Watson, in contrast, makes it look easy.
21:30 GMT - Spieth under pressure - Jonas Blixt and Matt Kuchar are breathing hard down Spieth's young neck, and are now just a shot behind. Bjorn and cigar-puffing Miguel Angel Jimenez, at the ripe young age of 50, are another two shots adrift.
21:27 GMT - Big save! - Solid stuff from Watson at the 12th as he makes par, against a bogey from the youngster, propeling Watson back into a two-shot lead. Might have been far worse for Spieth after ending up in the water. He stays alive.
21:23 GMT - Scott signs off - And what of Adam Scott?! I hear you Aussies cry. Last year's Masters champ signed off with a very solid 68 for tied 15th in the clubhouse scores. It was that horrible four-over-par 76 yesterday that did for him. He'll be back.
21:19 GMT - Spieth in the water! - Plop into the water for Spieth. "No, no, no," Spieth mutters repeatedly as he watches his shot roll slowly but surely into the water. Watson then steps up and his tee is clean and good. It's going to take something special now for Spieth to save par. Pressure is on...
21:12 GMT - Squandered chance - So it's to the par-four 11th for Spieth and Watson. Spieth hangs his head as he gives up a very decent birdie chance, while Watson purses his lips as he cards a solid par to maintain his single-shot lead. To cheers and shouts of encouragement, they stride the 36 paces or so to the 12th.
21:07 GMT - Still in it - Further back, Jonas Blixt is the nearest challenger, two shots behind Spieth. Next up, tied in fourth, are Thomas Bjorn and Matt Kuchar. Rickie Fowler is sixth. Rory McIlroy carded a very respectable 69 in his final round.
20:59 GMT - Game on - AFP's Allan Kelly, at Augusta, said the clouds were coming, and they have arrived. Undeterred, Spieth regains his composure to card par at the 10th, but Watson cards a bogey, and Spieth reduces the deficit to one shot.
20:55 GMT - Temper temper! - Jordan Spieth throws a tantrum at the 10th, smacking the ground with his club in frustration after a poor shot. For the first time this week, he shows the immaturity of youth.
20:48 GMT - Sweet dreams - Nail-biting stuff at Augusta... or is it? Seems not everyone agrees. Andrew Flintoff, the England cricket legend, seems less than impressed, tweeting: "Golfs great it's like In The Night Garden for adults, be sound asleep in 5 minutes!" Night night, Freddie.
20:45 GMT - Spieth stumbles - Jordan Spieth misses his putt by a shred of grass. He tries again, and makes it this time, but settles for a bogey that means Bubba Watson leads by two shots at the turn. Spieth may well look back on that later and say that was the moment that sealed his fate.
20:42 GMT - Watson leads! - Nearly! Spieth responds by pinging it just past the hole, but Watson has a big chance to take the lead... and there it is! Bubba Watson salutes the crowd as he cards a birdie for the sole lead. Breathtaking stuff.
20:39 GMT - Heat is on - Watson turns up the heat once more, his approach at the ninth showing the youngster Spieth how it's done. All the momentum so far has been with Spieth, but for the first time could it just be swinging towards his fellow American?
20:33 GMT - Pulling clear - If Spieth is rattled, his tee shot does not show it at the par-four ninth. He and Watson are pulling away from the chasing pack and they are now three shots clear of Jonas Blixt and Matt Kuchar in tied third. Rickie Fowler, resplendent in orange shirt and tartan trousers, is another shot adrift.
20:28 GMT - Bogey-birdie - OOOOhhhhh. That's what he can do! Watson's chip is nearly perfect, the ball plopping just a few feet from the hole. Spieth's attempt at a putt is well off though. He then makes a mess of it from about three feet, and then finally gets it right at the third attempt. Bogey for Spieth, but birdie for Watson. They are level out front!
20:19 GMT - In the rough - Spieth and Watson having some fun out there as they wrestle with the tricky par-five eighth. Spieth, his white shoes matching his white cap, is in the rough. His chip to the green falls well short. What can Watson do with this?
20:11 GMT - Spieth birdie! - And that's another birdie for Spieth, his fourth of the round, at the seventh. He now leads by two shots from Bubba Watson. He is making this look easy. The ball just lips in and Spieth clenches his fist.
20:08 GMT - Aussie talent - Another terrific young talent is the Australian amateur Oliver Goss. The 19-year-old and winner of Silver Medal as top amateur scored a final-round 75. "I'm absolutely exhausted. You've got to play your best golf every single day, it just amazes me," he says. "And I can definitely tell you I'm going to get back home and hit the cardio a little harder. I really respect these guys for what they do."
20:07 GMT - Inspiration - Jordan Spieth says his inspiration is his 13-year-old sister Ellie, who was born with a neurological disorder. She has special needs and is watching Jordan at home in Texas today on TV. Jordan also has a brother who plays Ivy league college basketball at Brown University.
20:02 GMT - In the hunt - To recap, Spieth is on seven under, Watson six, Kuchar and Blixt at four, Couples, Bjorn and Rickie Fowler at three. According to AFP's Jim Slater, it's these seven who look like they are the ones in the serious hunt. Spieth, Slater tells me, would be the youngest major winner since Tom Creavy took the 1931 PGA Championship when he was one month younger than Spieth is now.
19:53 GMT - Birdie time - Forget that about nerves. Spieth arrows a tee shot that lines up a great birdie chance at the par-three sixth, as has Watson... Easy. Spieth leads by one.
19:48 GMT - Spieth nerves? - Spieth surrenders a shot to Watson at the fifth for the first time today. That's a bogey for the young American, while Watson makes par, cutting Spieth's lead to a single shot. Jonas Blixt and Matt Kuchar are tied for third, two shots off the lead.
19:43 GMT - Sun hats on - Apologies in advance if you're somewhere cold and wet, but it's a blazing hot day at Augusta. AFP's Allan Kelly says from the course that it's about 80 degrees F (27 C) there today. But, he tells me, the forecast is for clouds to move in and the breeze to get up somewhat and be strongest around the time the finish is due.
19:39 GMT - 'Not again, Jordan' - But Spieth, who is looking to become the youngest Masters winner at age 20, is not making it easy on himself. His drive at the fifth goes wide. "Jordan, come on, not again!" he exclaims after what has to go down as a bad shot.
19:36 GMT - Destiny's darling? - For Spieth, that's the sort of shot-making that wins majors, says AFP's Jim Slater at Augusta. Slater tells me: "The only Masters debutante with four sub-par rounds is Fuzzy Zoeller from his 1979 win but after 71-70-70 and two birdies in first four holes now, you do start to wonder if Spieth is destiny's darling."
19:32 GMT - Game on - Spieth raises both hands in the air. He's not won it yet, but with shots like that he might. He holes for birdie out of a bunker at the fourth and the crowd goes nuts. But then Watson keeps up the pressure with a birdie of his own. Spieth leads by two.
19:27 GMT - Key to victory - AFP's Allan Kelly, out on the greens at Augusta, says that the two par fives on the back nine at 13 and 15 are usually the keys to victory. Looking at where the pins are, he says, fifteen appears to be to be the better eagle bet -- pin is plumb middle allowing players to be aggressive.
19:25 GMT - So close! - Fred Couples rolls back the years, and is within inches of carding a birdie at the seventh hole, only to see his putt fall just short. Oooohs and aaaaahs from the crowd. He is tied fifth.
19:22 GMT - McIlroy on rampage - AFP's Jim Slater is at Augusta and has his eye on McIlroy, who in the absence of an injured Tiger Woods came into the Masters as favorite. McIlroy is on the rampage, says Slater, making it a fourth birdie in fives holes at 11 to reach level par overall and a share of 10th.
19:17 GMT - Kuchar birdies! - And then Kuchar makes it two birdies on the trot to join Spieth at the top of the leaderboard on six under. Bubba Watson is a stroke behind in third, with Jonas Blixt another shot further back in outright fourth. It's hotting up nicely.
19:08 GMT - Spieth ahead! - Jordan Spieth, just 20, edges into the sole lead of the Masters with a birdie at the second hole. Huge roar goes up from a crowd that could see Spieth make history.
19:03 GMT - McIlroy on fire - Rory McIlroy -- remember him? -- is enjoying himself out there. The former number one surrendered any chance of victory on Friday, and with the pressure off, he is flourishing, holing three birdies in a row in his outward nine. The Irishman is joint 15th.
19:01 GMT - On cue - And right on cue the popular Kuchar cards a birdie at the second hole to join the leaders at five under. That makes it three Americans at the top of the leaderboard.
18:57 GMT - 1987 winner picks Kuchar - AFP's Allan Kelly, one of the lucky ones to have a ticket at Augusta, quotes Larry Mize, the 1987 winner. Who is Mize going for? "I guess I'll pick Matt Kuchar," he says, not entirely convincingly. "I think he was in good form last week, I think he played well yesterday."
18:52 GMT - Solid start - Co-leaders Spieth and Watson both make par for a decent, if unspectacular, start to their final round at Augusta. No apparent signs of nerves from the young Spieth, who looks right at home at one of golf's most prestigious venues.
18:39 GMT - Leaders under way - Spieth, in a shirt that almost blends in with the immaculate greens, drives first. His fellow American Bubba Watson, with that pink driver, goes next.
18:36 GMT - Here they come - Co-leaders Spieth and Watson, the latter the 2012 Masters winner, are stepping up to the first tee...
18:33 GMT - Runners and riders - Already under way at Augusta and very much in with a shout are Fred Couples, Rickie Fowler, ever-green Miguel Angel Jimenez, Thomas Bjorn, Jim Furyk and the Englishman Lee Westwood.
18:26 GMT - In contention - Beyond Spieth and Watson, Sweden's Jonas Blixt -- like Spieth -- is gunning to become the first first-time Masters player to win the green jacket since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 and only the fourth rookie champion ever. Blixt is one stroke off the pace, along with Matt Kuchar.
18:20 GMT - Out soon - Spieth and Watson are due to start their rounds about 20 minutes from now. Augusta is bathed in brilliant sunlight and the stage is set for what promises to be a tense day of action. Who's your money on?
18:08 GMT - Young gun - Jordan Spieth, the 54-hole co-leader with 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson, starts the day on five-under par 211, looking to become the youngest Masters winner at age 20.
17:52 GMT - WELCOME TO AFP's LIVE REPORT of the final round of the 2014 Masters. The stage is set for a dramatic showdown on one of golf's grandest stages as a historic finish looms at Augusta National.