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Woods wins Masters to end decade in the wilderness

Woods wins Masters to end decade in the wilderness
By Eurosport

14/04/2019 at 19:31Updated 15/04/2019 at 12:51

Tiger Woods completed one of sport's great all-time comebacks to end an 11-year major title drought at the Masters on Sunday by claiming a fifth Green Jacket at Augusta National Golf Club.

A gritty two-under 70 clinched a one-shot victory over Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele and earned the 43-year-old a 15th major title, his first since a 2008 US Open win to complete a remarkable comeback that looked, at best, implausible and, at worst, impossible.

"I'm a little hoarse from yelling,” said Woods, whose last Masters win came back in 2005.

“I was just trying to plod my way around all day. All of a sudden I had the lead. Coming up 18 it was just trying to make a five. When I tapped in on the last I don't know what I did, I know I screamed.

" To have my kids there - it's come full circle. My dad was here in 1997 and now I'm the dad with two kids there."

"It will be up there with one of the hardest with all I've had to win because of what transpired in the last couple of years," added Woods.

The 43-year-old Woods started Sunday's final round joint second with fellow American Tony Finau, while Molinari was the man to catch, starting the day at 13-under 203.

However, dressed in his traditional final-round red shirt, Woods emerged from a back-nine showdown with two-time major winner Molinari to win his fifth Masters title and 15th major of a storied career that moves him three behind Jack Nicklaus' record haul of 18.

Woods’ 13-under 275 saw him finish the day one shot clear of Johnson, Schauffele and Koepka, with Molinari a further shot back on 11 under.

"It's overwhelming just because I was very lucky just to be playing again," added in Butler Cabin.

"At the previous champions dinner I was really struggling and missed a couple of years playing in this great tournament and now be champion with 22 years between the wins."

Tiger Woods

Tiger WoodsGetty Images

Written off as too old and too beaten up from four back surgeries and multiple knee operations, Woods underwent a back fusion in 2017 and slowly returned to form.

He ended last season by winning the Tour Championship and showed signs of a breakthrough at the majors by being a title contender at last year's The Open Championship, where he led in the final round, and PGA Championship, where he finished runner-up.

All those moments built to Sunday, when Woods was once again his old familiar dominating self.

Tiger Woods

Tiger WoodsGetty Images

All eyes were on overnight leader Francesco Molinari, who led by two shots, Woods and the weather when play began as the race for the Green Jacket turned into a final sprint with the forecast predicting rain and thunderstorms.

In a desperate attempt to get the season's first major across the finish line before the storm hit, officials pushed up start times and sent golfers off in threesomes from both the first and 10th tees.

Paired together in the final round of last year's The Open Championship, won by the Italian at Carnoustie, Molinari and Woods found themselves in the last group again battling for a major title.

At Carnoustie it was Woods who stumbled on the back nine while leading. But on Sunday it was Molinari who slipped up, with the 36-year-old from Turin finding the water at the 12th and 15th. The two double bogeys ended his Green Jacket bid.

Tiger Woods

Tiger WoodsGetty Images

Molinari had played near flawless golf through the first three rounds, carding a single bogey, but on Sunday a bogey along with the two doubles during a miserable final round of two-over 74 left him two back of the winner.

With additional reporting from Reuters