For a short while, it seemed likely that 20-year-old Jordan Spieth would become the youngest Masters champion in history. It wasn't to be, however, as Bubba Watson outdueled the recent teenager to win his second Masters championship.
The two entered the final round tied at 5-under, but Watson shot 69 to Spieth's 72. Jonas Blixt finished alongside Spieth in second place at 5-under.
But none of that was predictable given the way the day began. A birdie at the par-5 2nd got Spieth moving in the right direction. Then, at No. 4, he holed a thrilling bunker shot to move two strokes ahead of Watson. Spieth gave one back at No. 5, but then rolled in consecutive birdies at Nos. 6 and 7.
It started to come unraveled for Spieth at the wrong time, since it perfectly coincided with Watson's charge. Spieth had a two-stroke lead on the tee at No. 8, and he started the second nine two strokes off Watson's pace after consecutive bogeys.
Watson, on the other hand, birdied both No. 8 and No. 9.
Spieth's only hope for a comeback would come via the two par-5s on the second nine -- No. 13 and 15 -- but he ended up parring both, allowing Watson to coast to a three-shot victory.
"It was so much fun even if I didn't show it on the back nine," Spieth said after his round. "I took at all in.
"Hats off, obviously, to Bubba. When he's driving the ball well he's tough to beat."
Really, it's a credit to Spieth that things didn't get too far out of hand, as it seemed he was beginning to come unglued.
If there is a silver lining for Spieth it's two-fold. First, Spieth was massively impressive in his Masters debut. Second, and more importantly, Spieth gained invaluable experience. He played in the final group in a major and dueled with the eventual winner for most of the day.
Of course, these types of moral victories will offer small consolation, but like Rory McIlroy in 2011, Spieth could turn his Masters disappointment into future major championship success. Spieth acknowledge as much following his round.
"I'm hungry," he said. "That was fun but at the same time it hurts right now. I didn't come out on top but I can take a lot of positives away."