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Faldo Wins In 96 As Norman Collapses

This was the year Greg Norman won it. Everything said it - that would be the headline come Monday. After so many frustrating heartbreaks, the lanky Australian was finally going to get his place in the Masters' champions locker room.
Norman was ahead by six strokes as Sunday began. He had opened with a 63, tying Nick Price's course record. He fired a 69 Friday, which was almost as good as Thursday's score when one considers the horrible conditions. And then he held it together for a 71 Saturday. Just a few short hours, he undoubtedly was thinking, and that green jacket would finally be his.
And then, there was Nick Faldo. The pesky Englishman was a little past his prime, when he won back-to-back Masters in 1989 and '90. Nick Faldo? You mean the guy who was way out of the picture on the front nine, the guy who still trailed by four shots as the two stood on the tee of eighth hole?
Yes, that Nick. He was about to re-write history.
Faldo, who trailed the best player in the game by six when the day started, made up six shots in just five holes. When the carnage was over, he led by two on the 13th. By the time the day ended, Faldo led Norman by five strokes.
A birdie by Faldo at the ninth started Norman's descent into the abyss. Shortly thereafter, he made these mistakes, the ones which spelled `loser' in what was to be one more Masters' heartbreak:
The ninth - Norman made bogey when his approach hit the elevated green and spun back off the green and down the elevated fairway. His lead was cut to two.
The 10th - Norman had an easy chip to the green, but flubbed it and made another bogey. His lead was down to one and his confidence was quickly ebbing away.
The 11th - Norman's birdie putt from 12 feet rolled 18 inches past. Then, his tap-in for par missed. Give him a third bogey. His lead was totally exhausted, down from the six at day's beginning.
The 12th - Faldo hit first and reached the green. Norman then made a hurried swipe at the ball and pushed it into the bank, then back into the water. He made double bogey and was now out of first place. Faldo led by two stokes.
Then came the 16th, Norman still behind by two, and he tried to hook a 6-iron in close. Oops. It again splashed down, drowning the last vestige of Norman's hopes.
Lost in the ugly clatter of Norman's 78, however, was the fact that Faldo held up for an exceptional round of golf under the most trying of circumstances. He shot a 67, which was most admirable in the cauldron of Sunday at the Masters.
'It was difficult emotionally, feeling for Greg,' said Faldo. 'We had a strange day. It was a strange atmosphere on the last few holes. Everybody knew what happened. Greg's been so close here, I think the crowd wanted him to win.'
For Norman, it was yet another case of what might have been.
'There must be a reason for these happenings I inflict on myself,' he said. 'I think there's some good waiting down the line for me and this is just a test. I am a winner. I just didn't win today.'
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