Sandy Lyle says patience is the 15th club in his golf bag.
He used that quality to the fullest Sunday to capture a major championship he almost let slip away the Masters."He's 99 percent unflappable," Mark Calcavecchia said.
"Sandy's such a nonchalant individual you never know how he feels at all," Ray Floyd said.
"I didn't think anything would ruffle him," Greg Norman said.
He got ruffled once.
It came on Amen Corner, a testy trio of Augusta National holes that often determines a Masters champion.
It didn't this time.
The 30-year-old Scot, who had a four-shot lead at the turn, played those three holes starting at No. 11 in bogey-double bogey-par. The double at the par-3 12th came when his tee shot hit the bank in front of the green and rolled back into the water.
Calcavecchia went through the corner birdie-par-birdie, taking a one-shot lead with five holes remaining.
Calcavecchia, playing in only his second Masters, parred the rest of the way and appeared assured of at least forcing a playoff.
Lyle had other ideas.
He regained his composure and moved into a tie with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th.
Both players had 6-under-par totals when Lyle went to the final hole.
He drove into a bunker guarding the left side of the 18th fairway.
"I thought it was over," Lyle said. "That bunker has a steep face and I didn't think I could get the ball over the lip onto the green."
But, he did.
Finding a good lie, Lyle pulled a 7-iron from his bag and delivered a shot he called "absolutely perfect."
It landed well above the hole and began rolling backward toward the cup, finally stopping 10 feet shy.
Asked how far it rolled, he replied, "Far enough."
He faced a putt he had to make to avoid a playoff.
"Your knees are knocking a little bit, but I managed to keep my nerves," he said.
It was a straight downhill putt. It fell for a birdie-3 that made Lyle the first British subject and only the fourth foreign player to win a green jacket at Augusta.
It completed a final-round 71 that left Lyle with a 7-under-par score of 281 for four trips over the 6,905-yard Augusta National layout and a one-shot victory over Calcavecchia, who closed with a 70.
"I'm speaking from Cloud Nine," Lyle said. "A 10-foot putt at 18 to birdie the last hole is a great achievement. At one time it looked a bit dodgy."
It was his second consecutive victory on the American PGA Tour, coming on the heels of last week's conquest in the Greater Greensboro Open.
He became the first to win two in a row on the tour since Bernhard Langer of West German followed his 1985 Masters triumph with a victory in the Heritage.
The last player to win Greensboro and the Masters in consecutive weeks was Sam Snead in 1949.
The $183,800 payoff for Lyle's 21st international victory lifted his U.S. earnings for the year to $591,821, most ever at this stage of the season.
It was Lyle's second major championship. He won the British Open in 1985.
"I'm a little bummed out at the moment," Calcavecchia said.
"I felt proud of myself. I did all I could do. I felt I had a shot. I came close. I'll be back. It's not going to be the last time I'm in the hunt here."
Until the late dramatics, the attention had centered on an exceptional round by Norman, the Australian who had finished second the last two years.
Norman turned in a record-tying 6-under-par 30 on the front side on his way to an 8-under 64, one shot off the Masters record.
It enabled him to climb from a 25th-place tie at the start of the day to a tie for fifth place at 285.
"The thing I learned out of today is never give up," Norman said.
"This course is unbelievable under pressure," he said. "Three or four under, you never know in this game. I threw everything right at the flag. I wasn't going to shoot for 24th place."
Norman's approaches were dead on the flag all day. Six of his birdies came from five feet or less, one from 15 and the other from 22.
Craig Stadler, the 1982 Masters champion, also made a strong run, sharing the lead at five under after the 12th hole.
Stadler finished alone in third place at 283 after a 68. He was one shot ahead of 1984 winner Ben Crenshaw, who had a final 72, never getting closer than two shots of the lead.
Don Pooley shot 70 and Fred Couples 71 to tie with Norman at 285.