Sports

Contenders Jonas Blixt, Matt Kuchar falter at Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. — The fireworks show that seemed to be scheduled for Sunday's final round of the Masters fizzled out late in the afternoon. It wasn't just that Bubba Watson cruised to his three-shot victory, it's that playing partner Jordan Spieth was really the only one to seriously contend on the final day.

In the penultimate group, neither Jonas Blixt nor Matt Kuchar began a serious charge.

Blixt and Kuchar shot 71 and 74, respectively, Sunday but combined to make just one back-nine birdie — Blixt's on the par-five 13th.

Kuchar was the only player besides Watson and Spieth to get to six under for the tournament on Sunday, a mark he reached with birdies on the second and third holes. But immediately after, Kuchar yipped through a four-putt double bogey at No. 4 and was never a threat again, settling for a fifth-place tie.

It was Kuchar's third straight top-10 finish at the Masters but another near-miss after he finished third, two shots out of a playoff, in 2012.

Kuchar called this final-round experience "exciting" yet "tough."

"I don't know how many opportunities you get at winning the Masters tournament," he said. "And I've had two this far. I don't know how many more I'll get."

The older crowd

In a Masters in which the 20-year-old Spieth led a youthful blitz, a pair of former Masters champions in their 50s showed plenty of game.

Bernhard Langer, 56, finished a steady week with his best round, a 69 that put him at even par for the tournament, good enough for eighth place. Langer, who won green jackets in 1985 and 1993, said he believes the growth of the Champions Tour has given the over-50 crowd added incentive to stay sharp.

"The guys stay in better shape," Langer said. "In their late 40s, they don't kind of quit and say, 'I'm done.' They're actually maybe working harder at it, knowing they're going to have five or 10 years, maybe more, on the Champions Tour."

Fred Couples, 54, began his final round with a pair of birdies, getting as low as three under for the tournament, but he stumbled down the stretch, finishing with a 72-hole total of two-over 290 (tied for 20th).

Meanwhile, 50-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez wound up at 4 under, finishing fourth.

Etc.

Rory McIlroy carded a Sunday 69, matching his best final round at the Masters to make a quiet charge up to eighth. McIlory played his final 22 holes in six under par. This was his best Masters finish, topping his tie for 15th in 2011. … Oliver Goss, 19, finished as low amateur, the only one of six amateurs to make the cut. Goss finished 49th overall at 10 over.

dwiederer@tribune.com

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