AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Two former U.S. Masters champions saw their fortunes diverge on Sunday as 2011 winner Charl Schwartzel rallied to finish third while 2013 victor Adam Scott slipped to a tie for ninth.
South African Schwartzel, 32, said he was proud of his Sunday performance as he reeled off six birdies to just two bogeys, but said he was ultimately too far behind to catch champion Sergio Garcia and runner-up Justin Rose.
"Sergio and Justin, they're really playing well now," Schwartzel told reporters after a final-round 68 left him three strokes behind Garcia and Rose, who decided the title in a sudden-death playoff.
After starting the day just three shots back of co-leaders Garcia and Rose and one ahead of Schwartzel, Scott was unable to get it going on Sunday, with four bogeys overshadowing his three birdies.
"I was looking for something special today and it wasn't even close in all areas," Australia's Scott told reporters.
A missed short putt on the third hole threw his momentum off and he said he was never able to get back on track.
"I was fighting and it's hard to feel comfortable all the time out there, especially on a Sunday. So, it wasn't going my way," he said.
The 36-year-old Scott, who has managed just one top-10 on the PGA Tour this season, tipped his cap to Garcia, who finally ended his majors drought in his 75th try by donning the Green Jacket on Sunday.
"It's almost a more well‑earned major than Phil Mickelson's first, (and) was quite a lot longer than anyone would have imagined for him," he said.
Editing by Larry Fine