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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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Ogilvy's ball stops three feet from the hole. Now the tee belongs to 1992 Masters champion Fred Couples.

Ogilvy: People at Augusta absolutely love Freddy. They sit at one hole all day hoping he'll come through and do something special. So he steps up and hits his tee shot inside of me. People are losing their minds. They don't sit down from the time he hits his shot until we go to the 17th tee. Even over my putt it never got quiet. Only semiquiet.

Ogilvy makes his putt for his fifth consecutive birdie. Six shots back when he arrived on the 12th tee, he is now the eighth player to have a piece of the Sunday lead.

LEADERS

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

On the 12th hole McIlroy four-putts from 15 feet. He is seven over par on his round and five strokes behind the leaders. "I can't believe it," Ian Baker-Finch intones gravely on the telecast. "It's a brutal game, and we are all a little fragile. And we all feel for him." Now there is a sickening feeling among the dogwoods. On the 13th tee McIlroy snap-hooks his drive into the hazard. He slumps over, his face buried in the crook of his arm.

McIlroy: I felt like crying. Even after what happened at 10, you're thinking 13, 15, 16 ... there's a lot of chances coming in. But 13 was the one that took all that away.

Ogilvy: All the rest of us did Rory a huge favor. It could have been a death march for him, where his struggles were the focus of the rest of the day. But there were so many birdies flying around, everyone pretty much forgot about him. He was spared a lot of agony.

On the 13th hole Choi has an eight-foot birdie putt to rejoin the leaders but misreads it. His bid is over. At 14, Scott and Day face a classic match-play scenario: Both have downhill birdie putts on a similar line on one of Augusta National's most frightening greens. Scott putts first, from five feet, and nudges home his birdie. A perennial disappointment in the majors, he now has sole possession of the lead. Day, a Masters rookie, faces a four-footer to keep pace but misses on the low side.

Day: That putt was a lot harder because Adam had just made his. It's like, you don't want to give up the lead, you want to match him shot for shot.

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