In a stunning finish to the
2005 Masters at Augusta, Tigers Woods was forced into a sudden death
play-off after bogeying the final two holes, but then won his fourth
Masters green jacket against the less-fancied US player, Chris DiMarco,
at the first extra hole decider – giving Woods his ninth “major” career
victory.

Woods who shot rounds of 74, 66, 65, 71, equalling Arnold Palmer’s four
victories, but is still two behind all-time leader Jack Nicklaus – who
announced his retirement at the Masters – as Woods continues to try to
overhaul the Golden Bear’s eventual 18 major victories. But it also
ended a relative “majors” drought for Woods since his last title in the
2002 US Open. The win also helped him regain his world number one spot.

For the 29-year-old Woods, his victory capped a most extraordinary
combined partial third and fourth rounds, when he resumed play earlier
this morning and immediately equalled a Masters record of seven
straight birdies. Having birdied his last three holes before bad light
stopped play on Saturday; he then resumed four shots behind overnight
leader DiMarco at the 10th, and peeled off another four straight
birdies.

But while Woods was typically charging, DiMarco’s 10th hole resumption
ended in a double bogey as he went backwards with a third round 74, to
trail Woods by three shots as they went head-to-head.

While Woods and DiMarco cleared out from the rest of the field for a
memorable finish including an incredible chip shot by Woods at the 16th
that didn’t have another whiff of wind left to send it into the cup
before it hesitated.

Incredibly Woods ended up with bogeys on the final two holes to allow
DiMarco to make up two shots and climb into a play-off, but Woods could
also content himself with 8-0 record of never losing a major when
leading on the final day. It only required the 18th hole replay to
settle it with typical Woods gusto when he struck a 15-foot putt to end
DiMarco’s challenge, but the loser performed admirably to make Woods
fight every step of the way as he came back at the death to force Tiger
to produce something special such as his 16th hole show stopper, and
the winning putt.

Australia still managed three players in the top 25 with Craig Parry
finishing 25th. Rod Pampling and Mark Hensby tied for fifth, which
marked a stunning debut at Augusta for both players who automatically
qualified for next year’s event – as did Parry.

Final Leaderboard:

-12 *T Woods, C DiMarco
-5 R Goosen (South Africa), L Donald (England)
-4 R Pampling (Australia), M Weir (Canada), M Hensby (Australia), V Singh (Fiji)

*Wins after play-off

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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