Worksop putter Lee Westwood will have to search again for the secret to major success after his 60th attempt ended in disappointment at the US Masters.
Westwood’s record at Augusta for the last four years now reads second, 11th, third and eighth after a closing 71 left him six shots outside the play-off between Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera. It was Scott clinched his maiden major title.
But while 12 months ago the 39-year-old was blaming bad putting for another near miss - “The story of the week is you have got to putt well to win The Masters and I haven’t,” - this time that was not the case.
“I played all right this week,” Westwood said. “I putted really nicely. Short game was good as well. I don’t think I’ve had a three-putt all week, which is quite an achievement on this golf course.
“I just didn’t play the par-fives well enough. You’ve got to do your scoring on the par-fives and I played them in four under par. I didn’t birdie any of them the second or third day and was only one under today and hit great drives down all of them, so it’s a bit disappointing.
“I had a chance to get off to a really hot start and get right into it and missed from 15 feet at the first and then had four feet for eagle on two. I had a good chance on five, birdied seven and didn’t birdie eight from the middle of the fairway. I could have been five or six under through eight holes and in with a real shot.”
Westwood shared eighth place with Sergio Garcia, who shared the lead after an opening 66 but followed that with rounds of 76, 73 and 70 as the European wait for a first winner since Jose Maria Olazabal in 1999 goes on.
But Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen offered plenty of hope for the future, the 23-year-old recovering from an opening 78 with two rounds of 68 at the weekend to finish joint sixth on his Masters debut.
“I love it, it’s a dream for me,” said Olesen, who set the clubhouse target at four under before being overtaken by Tiger Woods.
“It’s lovely to be here at a major and especially at the Masters. It’s a great golf course and the atmosphere here is amazing.
“I just tried to play the same as I did the first three days and hit the ball the same way and that’s what I did. I gave myself a lot of chances, so it was a great day and a lot of fun out there.”
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson finished 18th and Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano 20th, with a closing 69 enough to lift Rory McIlroy into 25th alongside Luke Donald (72), Justin Rose (74) and Bernhard Langer (76) on two over.
“I know I’ve played good enough golf here to win, it’s just a matter of stringing it all together,” McIlroy said. “I was in a good position and did not quite have it all yesterday (Saturday when he shot 79) and that really cost me.
“You have to be right on your game for 72 holes here, I played a five-hole stretch in five over and that was really it. If I just limit the mistakes from yesterday I am right there.”
Langer, 55, had designs on becoming golf’s oldest major champion when he started with three birdies on Sunday, but quickly faded, while David Lynn - two off the lead on his debut after an opening 68 - restored some pride with a closing 72 following an 80 on Saturday.
Lynn finished joint 46th while former Open champion Paul Lawrie was 38th and Sandy Lyle 54th on the 25th anniversary of his 1988 victory.