AUGUSTA, Ga. —David Toms played a brilliant final round Sunday at the Masters. Perhaps a half-club too brilliant.
Starting 11 strokes off the lead at 4-over-par, Toms fashioned a 5-under 67, sharing low-round honors with former Tulane and Alabama golfer Michael Thompson.
It was Toms’ second-best score at Augusta National Golf Club after his final-round 64 in 1998, which still shares the record as the best final round in Masters history. It’s only his fourth round in the 60s in 35 rounds here overall.
“It was good — a good day,” Toms said. “I just played really well, hit a lot of really good iron shots. Obviously I had a little snafu over there on No. 10 and recovered well. Other than that, it was a pretty solid day.”
Toms snap-hooked his drive into the cabins left of the par-4 10th fairway, the same area from where Rory McIlroy made triple bogey in 2011. But Toms punched out, then hit an iron to 3 feet to save par.
Toms birdied 13, 14, 15 and 17, but it was a shot that came up just long on the par-3 16th that kept him from being an automatic qualifier for the 2014 Masters. Toms’ tee shot stayed on the upper-back part of the green, resulting in an icy three-putt.
“I hit just half a club too much,” Toms said. “(Caddie Scotty Gneiser) didn’t want me swinging a hard 7-iron, so I kind of just tried to hold a 6. If it lands 3 feet left of where it landed, it’s still going to be good. It’s just one of those things. I hit two really good putts and walked away with a three-putt.”
The former LSU All-American and 2001 PGA champion finished in a tie for 13th at 1-under 287. Under a new rule, only the top 12 and ties earned automatic invitations to next year’s Masters. Last year, the top 16 and ties got in.
Peterson struggles home
John Peterson’s first Masters ended on a sour note: The former LSU All-American struggled home to an 80 on Sunday to finish 60th among the 61 players who made the cut at 14-over 302.
The lone highlight for the 2011 NCAA champion was a birdie on 16 after his tee shot curled around the back of the green and finished 2 feet left. But Peterson made few if any putts of any longer length the entire week.
“I was actually thinking on 18, if that 15-footer would have gone in, that would have been the longest one” of the tournament, Peterson said. “Maybe 6, 7 feet. I just struggled so badly on the greens. Never have I ever struggled so hard on the greens.”
Peterson qualified for his first Masters by tying for fourth with Toms in last year’s U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. As he did then, he had family friend Gentry Mangun on his bag but admitted he considered using a club caddie to help him read the greens.
“I thought about that two weeks ago,” Peterson said. “It would have helped a lot, probably. When you hit as many putts as I did indecisively, you’re not going to make anything. I hit so many putts where I had no clue where they were going.”
Despite his struggles, Peterson remained confident he will play in the Masters again.
“Sometimes you’re the hammer, and sometimes you’re the nail. I’ve been the nail this week,” Peterson said.
“I will be back here. I don’t know when it’ll be, but I will be back.”
Toms was planning to play in the RBC Heritage Classic this coming weekend in Hilton Head, S.C., but he said he found out Sunday that he forgot to enter the tournament. Instead, he will be heading home to Shreveport to rest up for a week before playing in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, which is April 25-28 at TPC Louisiana in Avondale.
Peterson said he has an invitation to play in the Zurich but instead may opt to play in the Web.com Tour stop in Valdosta, Ga.
“I need to play the Web.com Tour to get my (PGA Tour) card for next year,” he said.
Like Toms, Peterson is qualified for the U.S. Open, which is June 13-16 at Merion outside Philadelphia.
Defending champion Bubba Watson still made this year’s tournament memorable — but this time not in a good way.
Watson made a 10 on the 155-yard par-3 12th hole Sunday. His tee shot splashed into Rae’s Creek, as did his third from the fairway, before his fifth shot found a back bunker.
Watson hit into the creek from the bunker, then decided to splash out sideways. He chipped onto the green and had an easy two-putt from 12 feet for the 10.
Watson shot a final-round 77 to finish at 7-over 295 in a tie for 50th. Kevin Na also made a 10 on 12 on Sunday, shooting 81 to finish in 59th.
Drive, Chip and Putt
Entries are being accepted for the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, a joint effort of the Masters Tournament Foundation, USGA and PGA of America.
Children ages 7-15 will compete in four age categories, with the finalists competing at Augusta National Golf Club on April 6, 2014, the Sunday before Masters week. Entries must be received no later than 4 p.m. CDT April 30. Register at www.drivechipandputt.com.
The last word
“Adam Scott u rippa”
— Tweet from LSU punter and fellow Australian Jamie Keehn after Adam Scott’s birdie on 18 led to a playoff