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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2009 > PGA Tour > The Masters > Round 4
 

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Late mistakes cost Kenny Perry dearly

Kenny Perry did not know whether to be down on himself or proud of his efforts after he let another major championship get away at the U.S. Masters.

Perry, who lost a playoff at the 1996 PGA Championship to fellow American Mark Brooks, led by two strokes with two holes to play at Augusta National before bogeys at 17 and 18 dropped him into a playoff with Angel Cabrera and Chad Campbell.

A poor approach shot on the second sudden-death hole sounded the death knell for 48-year-old Perry, whose bid to become the oldest player to win a major ended with Cabrera parring the 10th hole to add the Masters to his 2007 U.S. Open crown.

“It just seems like when I get down to those deals, I can’t seem to execute. Great players make it happen, and your average players don’t,” Perry told reporters.

“I just didn’t get the job done again, and I’ll look back the rest of my life saying what could have been,” added the Kentuckian before steering back into positive territory.

“But I’m not really going to go there because if this is the worst thing that happens in my life, my life’s pretty good. It really is.

“I fought hard and I was proud of the way I hung in there,” added Perry, winner of 13 U.S. PGA tournaments.

The American was a paragon of steadiness on a day when Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods triggered roars that rang through the pines of Augusta National as they charged from seven shots off the pace to within one of the lead by the 16th hole.

He started with 11 pars in a row to keep the lead, which he increased with a birdie at the par-three 12th.

After another birdie at the par-five 15th, a brilliant tee shot on the next finished a foot from the cup, bringing an immediate smile to his face and roars from the gallery.

That tap-in birdie made him two-up with two to play.

A bad chip shot at the 17th led to a bogey, however, and on the last, his tee shot found the fairway bunker. A chip then left him a 15-foot putt to win, which he left short of the cup.

“I had that putt that I’ve seen Tiger make, I’ve seen so many people make that putt … That was probably the most disappointing putt of the day because I hit it too easy. You’ve got to give that putt a run. I mean, how many chances to you have to win the Masters?”

Perry, holding his emotions back through reddened eyes, put the Masters disappointment in perspective.

“I got my mom struggling with cancer, my dad’s struggling, I got a lot of people hurting right now, and here I am playing golf for a living and having the time of my life.”

Perry said earlier in the week that he still thinks about the bitter loss at the 1996 PGA when he was taken to task for being in the TV broadcast booth instead of warming up on the practice range for the Valhalla playoff.

The American was trying to keep an eye on the future, though.

“I’m looking forward to (U.S. Open venue) Bethpage Black, to the British, to the PGA. I know I can do it now, because it was fun.

“It’s neat to get in the moment and get in the heat. To say ‘I was there, I did it, I was good enough to win.’ But I didn’t win. So maybe this will help me down the road. Maybe not.”

 

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