SA players struggle at Augusta

2013-04-15 11:17

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For the first time since 2010, no South Africans finished in the top 10 of the Masters – a tournament they have won more times than any other nation apart from the United States.

Tim Clark, who went into yesterday’s fourth round at Augusta National four shots off the pace, on three under par, started with a bogey, but pulled it straight back to stay within striking range of the leaders. However, a double-bogey on the fifth and a bogey on the seventh saw him fall behind.

Four birdies on the back nine helped him claw his way back a bit and he finished the round with a one-over 73 for a tournament total of two under, finishing in a tie for 11th position.

“I was disappointed with my round today,” Clark said.

“After shooting a 67 in the third round, I thought that I had a chance, but things simply did not go my way. That is the way it goes in golf.”

Ernie Els and Branden Grace, who were too far off the pace at the start of the fourth round to mount a challenge, both played rounds of 69, with Els settling in a tie for 13th on one under, and rookie Grace tying for 18th on level par.

The game of four-time Major winner Els came together with three birdies on the final nine holes of the tournament.

“I played nicely for once. Today I kept it a bit more together and I just enjoyed the day,” Els said.

The Big Easy hoped this performance would help to kick-start his season.

“I have not had a great year up to now and I have been working hard to get some momentum,” he said.

“I think hopefully we will get something going and I am looking forward to the rest of the year now.”

Els was one of just two players who managed to hit three eagles in his four rounds, ironically missing on Sunday, when he played his best round. He received three crystal highball glasses for his effort.

Grace, who finished as the second-best debutant in the tournament, felt he could take a lot of positives from his performance.

“As this was my first Masters, I can start feeling that I can contend in these things,” Grace said.

Former champion Charl Schwartzel ended a disappointing round – and tournament – on a high as he birdied the last two holes to finish on one-over 73 for the day and two over for the tournament, in a tie for 25th place.

Also tying for 25th was Richard Sterne, who played his best round of the tournament on the final day for a two-under 70. The European Tour Race to Dubai leader had a run of three birdies on the back nine starting with the 12th.

Another former Masters champion, Trevor Immelman, who started with a round of 68 on Thursday, finished with a two-over 74 in a tie for 50th, on seven over for the tournament.

Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters as he secured victory at the second playoff hole against Argentine Angel Cabrera.

The Australian, who famously gave away a six-shot lead on Els in the Open Championship last year, made no mistake this time around to win his first Major title.

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