Charl Schwartzel of South Africa closed with four straight birdies today to win the Masters over a pair of Australians in one of the most dramatic finishes ever at Augusta National. Schwartzel's final putt from 20 feet curled into the side of the cup for a 6-under 66, the best closing round at the Masters in 22 years. It gave the 26-year-old , who finished at 13-under 274, a two-shot victory over Australians Adam Scott and Jason Day. Scott shot a 67 and Day finished with two straight birdies for a 68, leaving the Aussies in second place at 276.
It was bitter disappointment for themselves and their country: The Masters is the only major an Australian has never won. Tiger Woods was in a group at 278; he missed short putts at both the 12th and 15th holes, limping to the finish with a 36 on the back nine. Rory McIlroy, who entered the day with a four-stroke lead, suffered a stunning collapse. Still leading by one shot as he headed to the back nine, the Northern Ireland golfer hit a tee shot next to the cabins left of the 10th fairway and twice hit a tree to make triple bogey. He three-putted from 7 feet for bogey on the 11th, four-putted from about 12 feet on the next hole and then buried his head into his forearm as the loss began to settle in. McIlroy shot 80, the highest final round by the 54-hole leader since Ken Venturi in 1956.