Cabrera's play-off magic seals Masters win

Argentina's Angel Cabrera edged Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell in a three-man sudden-death play-off to clinch the 73rd Masters at Augusta and become the first South American to wear the prized green jacket.


AFP - Forty-one years after Roberto De Vicenzo made the greatest blunder in Masters history, a golfer from Argentina is finally wearing the green jacket symbolic of Masters supremacy.

Angel Cabrera won a three-man sudden-death playoff Sunday to capture the year's first major title at Augusta National Golf Club, the 39-year-old South American's first victory since his breakthrough major win at the 2007 US Open.

"The US Open got me by surprise," Cabrera said. "This win I'm more prepared. I know more how things happened."

The only other South American to win a major was Cabrera's countryman De Vicenzo, who won the 1967 British Open but signed an incorrect scorecard at the 1968 Masters to hand Bob Goalby a win without a playoff.

"De Vicenzo had bad luck. It's not going to change what happened to him," Cabrera said. "But this win, to take a major back to Argentina, it's going to help a lot."

De Vicenzo and Goalby appeared set for a playoff in 1968 after each firing final-round 66s. But De Vicenzo signed a card showing a par-4 on the 17th rather than a birdie and as a result handed Goalby the victory.

Years later, De Vicenzo handed Cabrera a souvenir for luck at the Masters.

"He gave me a framed picture where he has his hand in a green jacket and he said, 'I hope this gives you luck so someday you can bring back a green jacket for yourself,'" Cabrera said.

There was some luck involved at the 18th in the playoff when Cabrera's tee shot landed behind a tree. Cabrera's second shot smacked into another tree but bounced into the fairway, where he managed a par to continue in the playoff.

"This is the Masters," Cabrera said. "A lot of magical things happen."

One of the most magical moments for Cabrera was when 2008 Masters winner Trevor Immelman of South Africa placed the green jacket upon his shoulders for the first time.

"I had goosebumps," Cabrera said. "I was shaking. I can't even explain it."

Cabrera also resists the notion to compare his achievement to those of world champion countrymen Maradona in football or Manu Ginobili in basketball and he knows golf will not suddenly become his homeland's obsession because he won.

"The Masters is the Masters. What I do is what I do. What Maradona does or Ginobili does is their game," Cabrera said.

"Football has always been the biggest sport in my country. I won the Masters but that's not going to change what football means."

Cabrera was one-over on the front nine and began the back nine with a bogey but birdies at the par-5 13th and 15th and another at the par-3 16th lifted him into the playoff with a final-round 71 to join Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell on 12-under 276 for 72 holes.

"After the 10th hole I started to hit the ball good and things started to roll," Cabrera said. "I was happy with my game. I had confidence. I was just enjoying the moments."

Campbell was eliminated by pars from Cabrera and fellow American Perry on the first playoff hole, the par-4 18th, and when Perry ensured himself no better than a bogey, Cabrera two-putted from 10 feet to win the Masters.

"He's a great player, one of the best drivers we have," Campbell said. "He's long and hits it very straight. He's one of the longest guys out here, really underrated in that category."

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning