1979 Masters Tournament: Fuzzy Math

The 1979 Masters was the 43rd time this major championship was played. Fuzzy Zoeller won it in a playoff after Ed Sneed blew the lead over the tournament's final few holes.

Winner: Fuzzy Zoeller, 280

Where it was played: Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia

Tournament dates: April 12-15, 1979

Leader after first round: Bruce Lietzke, 67

Leader after second round: Ed Sneed and Craig Stadler, 135

Leader after third round: Ed Sneed, 204

What Happened at the 1979 Masters Tournament

Ed Sneed led by five strokes entering the final round, and still held a 3-shot lead with three holes to play. But then Sneed, a solid player on the PGA Tour for many years, made bogey on No. 16. And bogey on No. 17. And another bogey on No. 18. Three consecutive bogeys to close the final round. That rough finish dropped Sneed into a three-way title at the end of 72 holes with Tom Watson, already a Masters champion; and tournament rookie Fuzzy Zoeller.

That trio continued into the first sudden-death playoff in Masters history (previous playoffs had been scheduled for 18 holes). On the first hole, each made par. But then Zoeller won it on the second extra hole with a birdie. He was the first Masters rookie since Gene Sarazen in 1935 to win.

Zoeller didn't move into the Top 10 until the third round, when he shot 69. At the start of the final round he was six shots behind Sneed, who was the tournament's 36- and 54-hole leader. Zoeller had recorded his first PGA Tour victory only a couple months earlier; he went on to win the 1984 U.S. Open, also in a playoff. Sneed never won a major.

Jack Nicklaus finished one stroke out of the playoff after a bogey on the 17th hole in the final round. Another legend, Sam Snead, became the first to achieve a milestone here: He played in his 40th Masters Tournament (he missed the cut).

Future three-time Masters winner Nick Faldo made his Masters debut this year and finished 40th.

1979 Masters Final Scores

x-Fuzzy Zoeller 70-71-69-70—280
Ed Sneed 68-67-69-76—280
Tom Watson 68-71-70-71—280
Jack Nicklaus 69-71-72-69—281
Tom Kite 71-72-68-72—283
Bruce Lietzke 67-75-68-74—284
Craig Stadler 69-66-74-76—285
Leonard Thompson 68-70-73-74—285
Lanny Wadkins 73-69-70-73—285
Hubert Green 74-69-72-71—286
Gene Littler 74-71-69-72—286
Seve Ballesteros 72-68-73-74—287
Miller Barber 75-64-72-76—287
Jack Newton 70-72-69-76—287
Andy North 72-72-74-69—287
Lee Trevino 73-71-70-73—287
Lee Elder 73-70-74-71—288
Raymond Floyd 70-68-73-77—288
Billy Kratzert 73-68-71-76—288
Artie McNickle 71-72-74-71—288
Gary Player 71-72-74-71—288
J.C. Snead 73-71-72-73—289
a-Bobby Clampett 73-71-73-73—290
Lou Graham 69-71-76-74—290
Joe Inman 68-71-76-75—290
Hale Irwin 72-70-74-74—290
Jim Simons 72-70-75-73—290
Tommy Aaron 72-73-76-70—291
Andy Bean 69-74-74-74—291
Graham Marsh 71-72-73-75—291
Gil Morgan 72-69-71-80—292
Larry Nelson 70-75-70-77—292
Victor Regalado 71-74-75-72—292
Isao Aoki 71-72-72-78—293
Bob Byman 71-71-75-76—293
Charles Coody 71-72-74-76—293
a-Scott Hoch 72-73-74-74—293
Peter Oosterhuis 73-72-73-75—293
a-John Cook 72-72-75-76—295
Nick Faldo 73-71-79-73—296
Jerry Pate 72-70-75-80—297
Tom Weiskopf 73-72-71-81—297
Billy Casper 69-75-80-75—299
Rod Funseth 70-73-78-79—300
Lindy Miller 73-67-75-86—301

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1978 Masters - 1980 Masters

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