Masters: Bubba Watson claimed a second Masters title by three shots at Augusta
Last Updated: 25/03/15 8:03pm
Bubba Watson withstood some early fireworks from Jordan Spieth before producing a birdie blitz of his own to set up a second Masters victory at Augusta.
The triumph lacked the drama and emotion of his first title two years ago but firmly secures his name in Masters folklore.
Watson and fellow American Spieth began the final round on level terms but the 20-year-old - looking to become the tournament's youngest ever winner - made an early bid for glory by storming into a two-shot lead, only for the 2012 champion to turn things round heading into the back nine.
And when Spieth found Rae's Creek at the short 12th the door was left open for Watson to ultimately cruise home down the stretch.
"I told my caddie up the 18th that I couldn't remember the last few holes, I was just hanging on and thinking about making pars," said Watson.
"Somehow I did and walking off 18 was a little bit easier this time. I kind of lucked into the last one, this one is a lot different, it was a lot of dedication to get back here."
Final round leaderboard:
US unless stated:
-8 B Watson
-5 J Blixt (Swe)
-5 J Spieth
-4 MA Jimenez (Spa)
-2 R Fowler
-2 M Kuchar
-1 L Westwood (Eng)
Click here for collated scores
Spieth, who only turned professional in December 2012, hit poor tee shots on the opening two holes but made par on the first and then holed from 15 feet for birdie on the par-five second.
He holed his second from the bunker at the short fourth before Watson, who had bogeyed the third and was briefly three behind, calmly holed from five feet for his own birdie to close the gap.
Spieth was unable to conjure up more magic from a greenside bunker on the fifth, but a brilliant tee shot to the sixth set up another short birdie putt which he converted after Watson had holed from 10 feet for a two.
Another birdie on the seventh took Spieth to eight under par and two shots clear, but that turned into a two-shot deficit just 20 minutes later.
A three-putt bogey on the eighth was followed by another on the ninth when his approach span back off the green, while Watson got up and down from over the eighth green and then holed from 12 feet on the ninth.
Watson dropped a shot on the 10th - where he won his play-off with Louis Oosthuizen two years ago - but then saw Spieth find the water in front of the green on the 12th to fall two behind again.
Watson then launched a huge drive down the dog-leg 13th and a wedge to the centre of the green set-up another birdie, while Spieth was unable to convert his after driving into the pines.
The closing holes lacked drama, with Watson happy to sit on a three shot lead with the chasing pack too far behind by now - Matt Kuchar (74) inexplicably four-putting the fourth after back-to-back birdies had taken him into a share of the lead, while Jonas Blixt hung around without ever landing a blow.
In contrast to Friday's round, Watson's putter did not err and a fine save at the 17th from six feet summed up his championship-clinching round.
A solid par at the last saw him home in 69, three clear of Spieth who to his credit did not back down and parred the final six holes for a round of 72 and a share of second place with Sweden's Blixt (71).
Miguel Angel Jimenez claimed sole possession of fourth following a late rally that saw him birdie the 12th, 14th and 16th, while Rickie Fowler (73), Kuchar and Lee Westwood (73) were the only others under par.
Rory McIlroy, who only just made the cut, finished with a 69 to end in a six-way tie for eighth place along with fellow Europeans Bernhard Langer and Thomas Bjorn.