Johnson holds off Tiger's charge to win Masters

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (CP) All Augusta National really needed was a back nine battle and an unlikely champion.

The Cathedral of Golf came alive Sunday afternoon as Zach Johnson held off a late charge from Tiger Woods to claim his first major championship at the Masters.

This is surreal very, very surreal, he said in the Butler Cabin before getting his green jacket. I dreamt about it for so many years, but I didnt think it would be this year.

The 31-year-old was full marks for his victory.

Woods got the gallery roaring with an eagle at the par-5 13th to move within two strokes of Johnson. The former Nationwide Tour player calmly responded, rolling in a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 16 to solidify his lead.

Johnson then bogeyed No. 17 before getting up-and-down for par at No. 18 to complete a 2-under 70 equalling his best score ever here.

Thats a phenomenal round under the circumstances, said Rory Sabbatini, who shot a 69 and tied for second. Thats just great golfing.

After putting out and embracing his wife Kim and kissing his baby son Will, Johnson had to sit and wait to see if Woods or Justin Rose could catch him. It was not to be.

Rose sent his tee shot at No. 17 well right into the trees and made a double bogey while Woods missed a 12-foot birdie putt at No. 16 and found a bunker on the next hole.

Johnsons winning score of 1-over 289 equalled the highest ever by a champion of this tournament. Jack Burke in 1956 and Sam Snead in 1954 had previously done it.

He was two shots better than Retief Goosen (69), Sabbatini (69) and Woods (72).

This golf course was playing very difficult, said Woods. You just had to keep plodding along and give yourself a chance at birdies. They were very hard to come by.

Johnson also became the first player ever to win a major in which Woods held the lead.

Organizations: Augusta National, Cathedral of Golf

Geographic location: AUGUSTA, Ga.

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