Golfers Who Birdied the Last Hole to Win The Masters? It's a Short List

How many golfers have won The Masters Tournament with a birdie on their last hole? The golfer reached the 72nd hole of the tournament, and made a birdie putt that ended up being the winning putt. That's the scenario we're talking about. And, so far, it has only happened six times in Masters history.

It didn't happen a single time in the first 24 years of The Masters' history. Not until 1959 did a golfer birdie his final hole to win. Since then, it has happened only five more times, most recently in 2004.

Here's a look at each instance this feat has been achieved:

  • Art Wall Jr., 1959: Wall started the final round of the 1959 Masters six strokes off the lead. But he wound up beating runner-up Cary Middlecoff by one shot after birdying five of his last six holes — including his last. He thus became the first golfer to win The Masters by birdying his final hole.

  • Arnold Palmer, 1960: Arnie capped a wire-to-wire win in the 1960 Masters with birdies on his last two holes. On the final hole, Palmer struck his approach shot to four feet from the hole, then sank the putt to beat runner-up Ken Venturi by one.

  • Gary Player, 1978: Player was tied for 10th at the start of the final round of the 1978 Masters. But on the back nine of his final round, he shot 30, finishing with a then-final-round-record of 64. On his last hole, Player sank a 15-foot birdie. Then he waited for an hour to see if his final score of 277 would be good enough to win. It was.

  • Sandy Lyle, 1988: At the 1988 Masters, Lyle arrived on the 18th tee tied for the lead. After finding a bunker with his tee shot, he played a 7-iron into the green. The ball stopped about 10 feet from the hole, and Lyle sank the birdie putt to win.

  • Mark O'Meara, 1998: Of the players on this list who birdied their final hole to win The Masters, O'Meara sank the longest putt. His 72nd-hole birdie in the 1998 Masters was 20 feet in length, and it gave him the one-stroke victory over runners-up Fred Couples and David Duval.

  • Phil Mickelson, 2004: After being tagged for many years as the best-player-without-a-major, Mickelson won the 2004 Masters by one stroke over Ernie Els to shirk off that label. His approach shot on the last stopped 18 feet from the cup, and after sinking that birdie Mickelson jumped into the air in celebration.
Something else to make note of: Four of the six golfers who birdied their final hole to win did something else pretty notable. Their birdies were the final putts in the tournament by anyone. They ended their Masters Tournaments with birdies to win. Those four golfers are Palmer, Lyle, O'Meara and Mickelson.

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