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Masters: Angel Cabrera battles to the end, has to settle for second

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Angel Cabrera almost had his second green jacket in five years. (USATSI)

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This close. The distance between those two words in the previous sentence proved to be the difference between winning and losing for Angel Cabrera at the 77th Masters. The two-time major winner and 2009 Masters champion, lost on the second playoff hole to Australian Adam Scott in near darkness on the 10th green.

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But the two players almost never made it to the 10th tee box because on the first playoff hole, No. 18., Cabrera's chip from just off the green burned the right edge for what would've been a tournament-winning birdie. Instead, the Argentine settled for 4, as did Scott, whose birdie chip came up three feet short.

After trading pars, both players found the fairway on the 74th hole, and their approach shots settled to within 15 feet of the pin. Cabrera's birdie putt, much like the chip on the previous hole, was one revolution short of the bottom of the cup. Meanwhile, Scott's stroke was firm, confident and, ultimately, the difference.

"You know, that's how golf is," Cabrera said told CBS' Bill Macatee through an interpreter moments after Scott became the first Aussie to win the green jacket. "I had some issues during the course [of the round], but I came back and that's how golf is."

Cabrera began the day at 7 under and made the turn at 9 under. But the aforementioned issues became apparent on No. 10 after a wayward tee shot led to a bogey. Cabrera carded another bogey on No. 13 before he birdied two of the final three holes, including a masterful 3 at No. 18 to earn his way into a playoff.

Consider this: Cabrera, having never birdied No. 18 in regulation and standing in the fairway in a downpour, stuck his approach shot to two feet for a kick-in birdie. In the end, it wasn't enough. Perhaps one of the Aussies -- Jason Day, had it not been Scott -- was predestined to win this year.

"Obviously, I would've been happier if I had won," Cabrera said when asked if he was excited for Scott, whom he knows well from their time together on Presidents Cup teams. "He's a great person, a great player, and I'm happy for him."

Cabrera has a U.S. Open and a Masters to his credit, but he'll no doubt be haunted by what didn't happen on that first playoff hole on Sunday as darkness crept over Augusta National Golf Club, when that chip missed by this much. "I had that chip on 18 that I could have won it," he said, "but Adam is a good winner."

 
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