Hanson's shank part of 'tough day' at Augusta

Published April 9, 2012 8:45AM (EDT)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Peter Hanson endeared himself to weekend duffers everywhere with his shank off the 12th tee.

Didn't do much for his chances at the Masters, however.

The third-round leader opened with two bogeys in his first three holes Sunday, and could never get anything going. He wound up in a four-way tie for third with Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson. The group finished at 280, two strokes behind Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen.

"It was," Hanson said, "a pretty tough day."

Hey, at least he and the rest of the gang had a front-row seat for the fun down the stretch.

"I've been in there a couple times nearly the last four years and it's a great experience," Westwood said. "When the weather is like this, there is nowhere quite like it, I don't think."

Hanson lost his overnight lead in a hurry with those two bogeys. Then came that massive shank on 12; it was hit so poorly it didn't come anywhere close to Rae's Creek, instead landing in that grassy area usually reserved for provisional shots. On 16, he hit his tee shot to 4 feet only to miss the birdie putt.

He did make birdies on two of his last four holes, but he'd been left behind long before that.

"It was a good test of emotion, how I can handle myself," Hanson said. "It was still a new situation for me playing the last group and playing with Phil. I felt like it worked out pretty good, but like I said, I think your weaknesses show a little bit when you come under pressure."

Any chances Westwood had at removing that "best player never to win a major" probably ended Friday with his double bogey on 18. Oh, he made a run at it, making four birdies in his last six holes, including three straight on Nos. 13-15.

But it's hard to dig out of a hole at Augusta National.

"You have got to putt well to win the Masters and I haven't putted well," Westwood said.

Kuchar actually made a brief appearance atop the leaderboard.

With 252 yards to go on his approach shot on 15, he shouted, "Come on baby, be good!" as the ball sailed toward the green. Good it was, coming within 4 feet. He tapped in for the eagle, tying him with Oosthuizen and Watson.

"It was awfully exciting," Kuchar said. "It's such an exciting tournament to be right there with a chance to win."

But his chances ended quickly as he gave a stroke back on the next hole. His tee shot was short and to the right, and he couldn't get up and down for par.

Still, a tie for third was his best finish since he tied for 21st as an amateur in 1998.

"Those amateur days were a real treat. That was a special time," Kuchar said. "When I come back here, I still feel like that same 19-year-old kid, and now to be back and to have a chance to win the title was really exciting."


WATCHING FROM HOME: Bubba Watson rarely plays a golf tournament without his 6-foot-2 wife, Angie, in the gallery.

She couldn't be there for the biggest win of his career, but she had a good reason: Two weeks ago the couple adopted a 1-month-old boy they named Caleb, a process that took more than two years.

Watson's wife, who once played pro basketball in Europe, said they considered flying up on Sunday for the final round. Watson said the adoption is not final and the baby cannot leave Florida yet. The couple, whose regular residence is in Scottsdale, Ariz., have leased a house in Orlando at Isleworth.

If the back nine at the Masters was a blur, so were the last two weeks. They have gone through the disappointment of thinking they were going to adopt, only for something to fall through.

The adoption of Caleb came together quickly, and they took the baby home Monday after Bay Hill.

"I almost pulled out of Bay Hill, but I didn't," Watson said. "I finished fourth, and then Monday morning, we were down in south Florida picking up little Caleb. I can't wait to get back."

His wife watched on TV, and said it was as nervous as she has ever been watching golf.

"I was trying to feed Caleb, put him down for a nap," she told Golf Channel. "I feel like everything just went so fast."

When Phil Mickelson won the Masters in 2010, he was photographed in his green jacket in the drive-thru lane at Krispy Kreme. Now it's Watson's turn.

"You know he's going to put on that green jacket and drive down something in General Lee," his wife said.

Watson bought General Lee, the original car from the "Dukes of Hazzard" television series, earlier this year.

The next big question: What will he serve at the Champions Dinner next year at Augusta?

"No idea," his wife said. "He's really, really plain. His favorite meal is teriyaki chicken and rice. That would be boring."


TURNING IT OVER: Charl Schwartzel loved everything about his run as Masters champion.

Except the way it ended.

The South African made bogey on two of his last four holes, and finished at 8 over for the tournament. He never broke par this week, an opening-round 72 his best score.

"I felt very good out there. I just didn't play very well and my putting let me down," Schwartzel said.

Being defending champion brings added obligations and attention in what is already a very big week, and it's been a bit overwhelming for some. But that wasn't the problem, Schwartzel insisted.

"It was nothing different from any other week," he said. "I felt in control. I felt more than capable of defending."

Instead, he was signing his scorecard just as the leaders were getting ready to tee off. Schwartzel watched the rest of the tournament on television before turning over the green jacket to Bubba Watson.

"The respect you gain from everyone. This tournament is different from others," Schwartzel said. "It was an honor being Masters champion."


PAIR OF ACES: The drinks are on Adam Scott and Bo Van Pelt.

Scott and Van Pelt each made a hole-in-one on the 16th hole Sunday at the Masters. They were the only aces of the week at Augusta National.

Van Pelt also made an eagle on 13, the second year in a row he had a pair of eagles on the back nine Sunday. He posted a 30 for the final nine, and finished with an 8-under 64. It was the first time he broke par this week.

"We'd all like to pick and choose when we have a good round, but we don't get to do that," said Van Pelt, who was 1 under for the tournament. "For me I knew I was close, closer than what my scores had shown the first three days, so it's nice to put a good one together going into next week. Obviously everybody wants to have their best week this week."

Or this week last year.

Both Scott and Van Pelt were in that wacky mix for the green jacket last year, with Scott finishing tied for second and Van Pelt tied for eighth, and those aces sure would have come in handy.

"I hit a shot that was feeding down last year and just missed," Scott said. "I would have liked to switch them."


DIVOTS: Patrick Cantlay was the low amateur at 7-over 295. Hideki Matsuyama finished two strokes behind after blowing up with an 8-over 80. ... Fred Couples, who had a share of the lead after the first round, finished in a tie for 12th. ... Kevin Na's birdie on 18 Sunday earned him a return trip to Augusta National. At 1-under for the tournament, Na finished in a tie for 12th. The top 16 and ties get spots in next year's field.

By Salon Staff

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