Woods wins the Masters at 43

Molinari ends in fifth place after appearing set to win

Redazione ANSA Rome

(ANSA) - Rome, April 15 - Tiger Woods is a Masters champion again, 14 years after the last time.
    Woods, 43, on Sunday donned the fifth "Green jacket" of his career at the Augusta National in Georgia, capturing his 15th major tournament with a win that ended a decade-long downturn and returned him to the top of the golf world.
    The Californian star called it one the most important successes of his career - "one of the biggest wins I've ever had" - after he thought about retiring following four back surgeries.
    Sunday was meant to be Francesco Molinari's day.
    Molinari, 36, appeared set to win the 2019 Masters, particularly after a hot start that saw him burying key putts to stay ahead of Woods.
    However, his downturn started on the back nine as he double bogeyed the par-3 12th and then did the same on the par-5 15th.
    Woods had not won a Major since 2008 at the US Open in Torrey Pines, California.
    His turning point was at the 15th hole of the Augusta National, where he proceeded to win his 15th Major, nearing Jack Nicklaus's record 18 victories.
    Woods's 72-hole score of 13-under 275 was one point ahead of fellow Americans Dustin Johnson - who is ready to retake the lead in the world ranking - Books Koepka and Xander Schauffele, who ended up second with 276 (-12). He was two points ahead of "Chicco" Molinari, Jason Day, Tony Finau and Webb Simpson, all fifth (277, -11).
    Woods received the green jacket from 2018 champion Patrick Reed to the standing ovation of a crowd of 40,000 spectators in Augusta who witnessed a new chapter in the star's legendary career.
    He won a 2.07 million-dollar prize, which is part of an 11.5 million purse for the tournament.
    Just 17 months ago, Woods was stuck in 1,199th place in the world ranking while now he is in the Top 10, a first since 2011.
    Molinari, who beat him three times in Paris in the US-Europe challenge, was a protagonist in Georgia, achieving his best result at the top tournament after his 19th position in 2012.
    The champion became the first Italian golfer to lead the Masters.
    He was also the first player in 25 years to register 49 consecutive holes without dropping a shot, one shy of the Masters record.