DiMarco Goes from Playoff to MC - COPIED - COPIED

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AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Chris DiMarco sure could have used this shot a year ago.
 
DiMarco made an eagle Friday with his final swing at the Masters, holing out a 6-iron on the 18th hole. Alas, it wasn't nearly enough to get him to the weekend at Augusta National -- a startling change from the position he was in last April.
 
Chris DiMarco
Chris DiMarco will have to wait another year before he has a chance to win the Masters.
The plucky DiMarco had a stirring Sunday duel with Tiger Woods at the 2005 Masters, forcing a playoff with the world's best player.
 
Woods won his fourth green jacket with a 15-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole -- another close-but-no-cigar call for the short-hitting player who putts with that strange 'claw' grip.
 
This time, DiMarco didn't come close to challenging for his first major title. He put himself in a big hole at the start with a 4-over 76. He followed with a 74 -- a score bolstered by that improbable shot from 177 yards, but still two strokes shy of making the 4-over 148 cut.
 
'It just wasn't meant to be,' DiMarco said with a shrug.
 
Plenty of others were on their way out of town, including U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman, whose week began with a random drive-by shooting -- he wasn't hurt -- and ended with a 76-75 in the Masters.
 
Lehman managed only one birdie over two days and finished with a 7-over 151, three strokes too much and a blow to his hopes of being the first U.S. playing captain since Arnold Palmer in 1963.
 
Of course, Lehman has an inside track to the team even if he fails to crack the top 10 in the points -- the captain gets to pick the last two players himself.
 
Also missing the cut: reigning U.S. Open champ Michael Campbell (149); 2005 Tour Championship winner Bart Bryant (149); and former No. 1 player in the world David Duval (159), who certainly had the most interesting round of the day.
 
Already staggering after an opening-round 84, Duval began the day with a double bogey at No. 1 and a quintuple-bogey 10 at the second, when he drove into a hazard on the left and took two more penalty strokes before he finally escaped.
 
But Duval bounced back, making five birdies over his final 12 holes and a 32 on the back nine on the way to signing for a 75. Not nearly good enough to make the cut, but quite a recovery nonetheless.
 
While Duval has been mired in a mystifying slump for nearly five years, DiMarco appeared on the verge of breaking through in a major. He lost a three-man playoff to Vijay Singh at the 2004 PGA Championship, then came up short against Woods eight months later.
 
DiMarco feels as though he lost a chipping contest at last year's Masters.
 
Woods pulled off a memorable birdie on the 16th hole with a shot that nearly stopped twice -- once at the top of the slope, then again at the edge of the cup before dropping in. DiMarco had a chance to rewrite history with his own chip from the edge of the 18th green, but the ball rattled the pin and stayed out.
 
Asked what he would have given to pull off an eagle at No. 18 last year, DiMarco jokingly pushed aside his 10-year-old son, Cristian, and said, 'See ya boy!'
 
Actually, he still had faint hopes of making the cut when he approached the last hole this time.
 
'I was just trying to hang in there and make a birdie because you never know what might happen out there with the wind swirling and the greens firm,' DiMarco said.
 
The conditions were U.S. Open-style tough, but the scores didn't go high enough for DiMarco to move on. So, he's moving out, settling for a pair of crystal goblets awarded by Augusta National to anyone making an eagle.
 
Seven golfers at 149 -- a group that included Campbell, Bryant and Colin Montgomerie -- were the most unfortunate.
 
The 36-hole leader, Chad Campbell, sneaked in a 15-foot birdie putt on the last hole, the ball spinning around the left edge before dropping in to give him a 6-under 138 total. If it stays out, everyone at 149 would have advanced to the weekend by being within 10 strokes of the top spot.
 
Then there's the most fortunate golfer in the field -- Brandt Jobe. He made an eagle at No. 10 that was even more remarkable than DiMarco's at the 18th, finding the cup with a 6-iron from 202 yards.
 
'I knew it was pretty good, but I couldn't believe it went in,' Jobe said. 'I just about fell over.'
 
He, too, gets a pair of crystal goblets -- and something even more rewarding. Jobe finished with a 148, just enough to make the cut.
 
Augusta National will save a bit on the awards it gives to the low amateur. To qualify for the prize, a not-for-pay player must actually make the cut. None of the five amateurs made it through this year, the first time that's happened since 2002.
 
In fact, none came close. Brian McElhinney had the best score among the amateurs, an 11-over 165 that was seven strokes too high to play on the weekend.
 
'It was the experience of a lifetime,' said McElhinney, who qualified for the Masters by winning the British Amateur. 'There's so much for my long game to improve. I will probably stay amateur another year.'
 
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