It's easy to let Angel Cabrera's play down the stretch get lost in all this Adam Scott hoopla, but it's worth revisiting just what the Argentine did on Sunday to nearly snag his third major championship and second green jacket.
Cabrera's chances seemed shot when his approach into the par-5 13th splashed into Rae's Creek, but the gritty 43-year-old slowly bounced back. Here is what he did down the stretch to nearly snag the 2013 Masters title from Scott.
The par-3 16th -- Cabrera missed another shot at a birdie on the par-5 15th and it seemed his chances were ruined, but just like in 2009, Cabrera was able to pull of a clutch shot on the par-3 16th and then roll in the birdie putt to get him back on track. In '09 I remember thinking that birdie might be huge if Kenny Perry's wheels started to come off, and the same thought passed through my head on Sunday. Cabrera's birdie here seemed to reinvigorate a golfer that hadn't made a birdie in eight holes.
The par-4 17th -- People sometimes criticize me when I talk about good putts that didn't go in, but Cabrera was the king of that on Sunday at Augusta National. His birdie putt on No. 17 looked good all the way, and he couldn't believe it didn't fall. The 17th has been the site of plenty of clutch birdies over the years, but it's also given us a good amount of collapses. Cabrera could have let it slip away here, instead nearly adding a second birdie in a row as the final round of the Masters was coming to an end.
The par-4 18th -- The second shot that Cabrera hit on the 72nd hole is one for the ages, and while he didn't go on to win it was as clutch a shot as you'll see from a guy that ended up finishing in second. Scott had just dropped a bomb for birdie to get to 9-under and Cabrera knew in the fairway he'd have to do the same to get in his second Masters playoff. His approach shot was nearly perfect, and set up a tap-in birdie to take this to extra holes.
First playoff hole -- Cabrera and Scott went to the 18th tee to try and recreate what both did to close out their final rounds, and while both hit poor approach shots, it was Cabrera's chip that nearly went in for the unexpected birdie. Just like Chris DiMarco in 2005, that chip just slid past the hole, but you know that Cabrera hit the near perfect chip shot that nearly stole this green jacket.
Second playoff hole -- The 10th at Augusta National is not easy at all, but Scott and Cabrera both hit solid tee shots and even better second shots to set themselves up for two good looks at birdie. Cabrera's putt looked to be a bit high when it left his putter, but you can tell by the way he stood in place and watched it that he thought it was in. The putt barely missed on the high side, but the guy hit another good putt that just didn't fall. Scott went on to make his birdie putt and win his first major championship.
So, to recap, Cabrera had legitimate chances at birdie over his last five holes at Augusta National, and while he was only able to convert two of them, he hit good putts (and a chip) on every hole. A pretty incredible finish for a guy that left the first major championship of the year without the title.