AUGUSTA, Ga. — The back nine on Sunday at Augusta is when the Masters is decided.
Brandt Snedeker, looking to reverse his final-round collapse here in 2008, never found a rhythm with his swing or his putting stroke and fell from third-round co-leader to a tie for sixth and five shots out of the playoff between Angel Cabrera and champion Adam Scott.
"Any time you have a chance to win the Masters -- my lifelong dream -- and you don't come through, you're going to be upset, you're going to cry, but I'll get through it," he said.
Snedeker, the former Vanderbilt golfer who still resides in Williamson County, birdied the first hole and seemed prepared to make a run five years after shooting a 77 from the final group on the final day.
But his putter, the club that helped lift him to No. 5 in the world rankings, let him down, especially on the back nine.
He missed a two-footer on No. 10 for par, he three-putted No. 11 and missed a birdie putt on No. 12. His chance of winning came to an end when his approach on No. 13 rolled into the water.
"I did not do a good job of making adjustments, and I'm disappointed," Snedeker said. "I'm not as crushed as I was in 2008 because I know I'm going to be there again. I realize that I'm not far off from winning this thing. I'm going to do it soon."
Tianlang Guan made the most of his historic Masters tournament.
He made history by being the youngest player ever to participate at 14-years-old on Thursday. He made history again on Friday when he became the first Masters player to receive a one-stroke penalty for slow play.
Guan, a native of China, survived Saturday and completed his tournament Sunday -- without a three-putt or a double-bogey over his 72 holes, no less -- and claimed a silver cup Sunday night as the low amateur in the championship.
"It's not easy to play here, to make the cut and be low amateur," Guan said. "I think I did a pretty good job this week, and I can't believe it's over."
Guan shot a 12-over 300 and placed 58th while likely becoming the most well-known golfer in China -- at least for this week.
Golden Bell's ringing
Kevin Na splashed three shots into Rae's Creek on No. 12, known as Golden Bell, and scored a 10.
It played as the third-hardest hole on the course Sunday, despite being just 155 yards. With the pin in its traditional Sunday location -- four paces from the right edge -- water, a bunker in front and two bunkers behind come in to play.
"I went for the flag, obviously, you're not supposed to, but I'm back in the field trying make a birdie or maybe a 1," Na said. "I hit a bad shot, and I wanted to try it again.
Bubba Watson, always one up for a challenge, matched Na's score in the same fashion with three tee shots into the creek.
Phil Mickelson walked toward the scoring center after his final-round 73. He paused for a moment then embraced former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who was one of the first two women admitted as members to Augusta National and wearing her green Augusta National members jacket.
Rice played with Mickelson during a practice round last Saturday. Mickelson tied for 54th place at 9 over, his worst finish here since missing the cut in 1997.
"I just had an off year," Mickelson said. "I played poorly. I'm disappointed because I expect a lot more of myself, out of my game and so forth this week."
Contact David Uchiyama at email@example.com or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...