(Reuters) - Bubba Watson and Adam Scott between them have won the past three Masters, but that did not stop them from costly mistakes when victory beckoned at the Memorial tournament in Dublin, Ohio on Sunday.
Showing once again how difficult it is even for the best players to close the deal, Watson hit poor tee shots on consecutive holes and dropped three strokes in the process to eventually finish one shot behind winner Hideki Matsuyama at Muirfield Village.
The long-hitting American missed the fairway with an iron at the par-four 14th, and from the punishing rough could not reach the green and settled for bogey.
That was no disaster, but worse followed at the par-five 15th, where the left-hander hooked his tee shot out-of-bounds into the yard of a course-side house.
“I played good, so hopefully the media doesn’t say I (am in) a slump after the Masters,” a defensive Watson, who less than two months ago earned his second green jacket, told reporters.
“I made one bad decision. If I hit four-wood off the tee instead of driver (at the 15th), we make five and win, but I made double (bogey) so we lost by one.
“I don’t see my swing as being loose. I made one bad decision.”
World number one Scott, who just one week ago won a playoff at the Crowne Plaza Invitational, threatened to make it two wins in a row.
But his misjudged tee shot at the par-three 12th found a hazard and led to a double bogey, and he also found a greenside bunker at the 14th to drop a shot, the first of three successive bogeys.
Scott had an extremely unlucky break when his wedge at the 15th clattered against the pin and ricocheted back off the front of the green, 20 yards away, instead of settling close for a possible birdie.
The Australian finished three shots behind after a 71.
Meanwhile, South Korean-born American Kevin Na, who lost the playoff to Matsuyama after driving into a creek, lamented that a final round 64 was not enough to win.
“The playoff obviously was a train wreck,” said Na, whose lone tour win came in 2011.
“It’s really frustrating. I can’t seem to get (another) win. Maybe I need to pray more.”
(Reporting By Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine)