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BEST SUNDAY EVER
ALAN SHIPNUCK
April 02, 2012
For three rounds the 2011 Masters was a one-man show, as Rory McIlroy forged a four-stroke lead. Sunday was supposed to be his star turn, but when McIlroy stumbled, the day turned into a free-for-all. Here's how the 10 protagonists remember the sweeping drama, which unfolded in five acts
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April 02, 2012

Best Sunday Ever

For three rounds the 2011 Masters was a one-man show, as Rory McIlroy forged a four-stroke lead. Sunday was supposed to be his star turn, but when McIlroy stumbled, the day turned into a free-for-all. Here's how the 10 protagonists remember the sweeping drama, which unfolded in five acts

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Scott and Day misplay their third shots and lose a precious birdie opportunity. At 18, Woods's approach comes to rest well short and right of the flag. He makes a par for a back nine 36, taking the clubhouse lead at 10 under.

Schwartzel: Tiger will never be just another name on the leader board, but the days are over when players are intimidated because he's around the lead. A lot of guys have now beaten him head-to-head. No one is going to give him anything. You saw that on the back nine—he took the lead, but the rest of the players kept attacking and making birdie.

With a wedge in his hand Ogilvy misses the final green and can do no better than par, leaving him at 10 under. After making an eight-footer to save par at 15, Scott plays a near perfect tee ball on the 16th hole.

Scott: As it was rolling back down the hill and looked as if it might go in, I remember thinking, If this goes in I might win the Masters.

The ball stops a foot from the cup. Scott waits to brush in his putt while Schwartzel is facing an eight-footer for birdie at the 15th green. After his fast start, beginning on the 5th hole Schwartzel made 10 consecutive pars and was largely forgotten in the unfolding drama.

Schwartzel: If guys had been running away from me, it would have been easy to lose my patience and start trying to force things, but I was always on the lead or very close to it. It's so tough out there—the secret of Augusta is to stay patient. That week I was very disciplined. I felt a spell of calmness over me. I think that all played a role.

As Schwartzel is addressing his putt, a cheer erupts from the 16th hole as Day holes out for par.

Schwartzel: I heard it, but it didn't bother me. I was so focused on that putt, so confident I was going to make it, I didn't want to back away. I wanted to get on with it.

He drills it center cut. On the telecast David Feherty says, "Come what may, Charl Schwartzel can say that he led the Masters for about seven seconds." Scott taps in to regain the solo lead, at 12 under.

Scott: My thought on 17 tee with a one-shot lead was that finishing 4--4 is going to be really good. Looking back over the years, 4--4 does you a lot of good in that situation. They're tough holes.

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