Green Jacket Fits Cabrera

Argentina’s Angel Cabrera has a green jacket to go w/ the US Open trophy he hoisted at Oakmont in 2007. Gutty pars on 17, 18, and the 1st playoff hole kept him alive and he was the last man standing after Kenny Perry failed to do the very difficult and get up and down from left of the 10th green on the 2nd extra hole.  It was a good week of scoring as evidenced by the fact that Cabrera, Perry, and Chad Campbell tied for 1st place with very low -12 276 scores, but you wouldn’t always know it by the way the leaders played Sunday afternoon.  Cabrera did not have his A game most of the day but kept his head above water and birdies on 13 and 15 cancelled a 37 on the front 9 to yield a -1 71 final round.  Perry played the first 11 holes in all pars before a long birdie putt fell on the difficult 12th to jump start his round.  After he nearly aced 16 and tapped in to move to -14 and a two shot lead, it looked like he had it won.  But he got over-excited on his approach shot to 17 and gassed the chip shot back to the front edge, leading to bogey and he gagged a bit from there.  He put his tee shot on 18 in the bunker on the left, which is not good but also not terrible.  But he yanked his 2nd shot left, which is dead, and the par putt to hold the win just missed on the low side.  In the 1st playoff hole he hit a very weak approach shot but short right is a playable miss and he got par.  On that hole Cabrera caught the break of his life.  His tee shot put him deep in the woods to the right, and his attempt at moonshot heroics smacked a tree.  But the carom was right back into the middle of the 18th fairway, and he was able to use the slope behind the hole to place his 3rd shot within 10 feet and he made the par putt.  When Chad Campbell lipped out his short par putt, it set up the mano-y-mano on 10 that Cabrera won with a good iron shot to Perry’s nervous yank left.  So the Argentine does what his countryman Roberto DiVencenzo failed to do in 1958 when he took himself out of a playoff by signing an incorrect scorecard.

The remarkable thing about today’s final round was that the leaders had very sparse galleries following their play until the last 4 or 5 holes because everyone was caught up in the duel between Tiger and Phil, who had teed off one hour ahead of the final pairing.  And with good reason as both were making a charge up the leaderboard, especially Phil with his front 9 30 that moved him to -10.  A ball in the water on 12 was a severe setback, but he still was in good position until his putter failed him.  If he makes a short eagle putt on 15 and a short birdie putt on 17 he would’ve been -12 (the eventual playoff qualification score) going to 18, which he took a deflated bogey on.  Tiger was right there too having got it to -10 before bogeying the final two holes.  Basically, they ran out of steam at the end of the round but they both took an inspired stab at a huge comeback.

But at the end of the day this tournament was for adding a new face at the Tuesday night Champions Dinner as none of the top 4 finishers (list includes Shingo Katayama at -10) had yet won a Masters.  Congrats to Angel Cabrera for holding it together down the stretch and emerging victorious!

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