Augusta, April 9:
A strange week at the Masters saved the biggest surprises for the end on Sunday â€” a green jacket for unheralded Zach Johnson, and beating Tiger Woods at that.
Johnson pulled away from Woods and the rest of the pack with three birdies in a crucial four-hole stretch along the back nine of Augusta National, closing with a 69 for a two-shot victory and only the second of his career.
Johnson, 31, is the least accomplished Masters champion since Larry Mize beat Greg Norman in a playoff 20 years ago. Even as some of the thrills returned in the final round, Johnson kept his calm. And there wasnâ€™t anything Woods could do about it. He looked like a lock when he took the lead after a short birdie on the second hole.
Johnson and three others came after him, and Woods was the one who backed off with sloppy mistakes â€” a broken club and shots that either found the water or the bunker, too many putts that stayed out of the cup. It was the third time Woods lost a lead during the final round of a major, and the first time he failed to get it back.
Johnson finished at 1-over 289, matching a Masters record last set in 1956 for highest winning score. And it ended a streak of the winner coming out of the final group at Augusta National every year since 1991.
The week featured bone-dry conditions, more bogeys than birdies, frost coating the manicured lawn and one last peculiar sight â€” Woods walking up to the 18th green with no trophy waiting for him.
Woods closed with a 72 and tied for second with Retief Goosen and Rory Sabbatini, who each shot 69.