Anything can happen on the final day of the Masters...


Five Of The Biggest Final-Round Comebacks In Masters History

After a stunning third-round 65, Hideki Matsuyama has opened up a four-shot lead going into Sunday at the Masters.

The 29-year-old is seeking to become the first Japanese player to win the green jacket, but it won’t be easy, as behind him some of the biggest names in world golf will be eyeing up a final-round charge.

And as we’ve seen in the past, anything can happen on Sunday at Augusta National.

Here, we look back at five of the biggest comebacks in Masters history.

Jack Burke Jr, 1956 Masters – eight shots

Five Of The Biggest Final-Round Comebacks In Masters History

Jack Burke Jr receives the green jacket from 1955 champion Cary Middlecoff

In the final Masters played without a cut, Jack Burke Jr overturned an eight-stroke deficit to defeat Ken Venturi by a single shot.

Venturi, a 24-year-old amateur at the time, had led the whole way having posted an opening-round 66 – the lowest score ever at the Masters by an amateur.

However, on a difficult final day in which Burke Jr’s 71 was one of only two under-par rounds, Venturi carded a disappointing 80 to finish in second place, a shot behind his fellow American.

Gary Player, 1978 Masters – seven shots

Defending champion Tom Watson helping Gary Player into the green jacket in 1978

Gary Player captured his ninth and final major championship at the 1978 Masters, producing one of the greatest final-round comebacks in history.

The South African trailed Hubert Green by seven shots after three rounds at Augusta National, but a brilliant 64, that included seven birdies in his final 10 holes, was good enough to clinch his third green jacket by a single shot.

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Incidentally, Tom Watson had the unenviable job of presenting Player with the jacket, having bogeyed the 72nd hole to miss out on a play-off.

Sir Nick Faldo, 1996 Masters – six shots

Nick Faldo (right) and 1995 champion Ben Crenshaw (left)

Perhaps the most well-known Sunday comeback came in 1996 when Greg Norman surrendered a six-shot lead to Nick Faldo. The Englishman was looking to win his third green jacket and put himself in the best position, birdieing the 17th in round three to all but book his place in the final group.

Looking back, Norman says he should have realised his timing was off as early as the fourth hole, when his tee shot into the long par-3 came up short. But hindsight is a wonderful thing.

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As the players turned for home, the Australian still held a two-stroke lead but that was all about to change. Two consecutive bogeys and things were level heading to the treacherous 12th.

Sensing what was unfolding, Faldo played what he described as a “defensively smart” shot into the heart of the par-3 green, before Norman’s weak effort drifted right and into Rae’s Creek. The resultant double-bogey gave Faldo a two-shot advantage of his own and he never looked back.

By the time the pair walked up 18, Norman trailed by four, with Faldo striking one final blow on the 72nd green. A closing birdie wrapped up an impressive 67 for the Englishman, who beat his playing partner by 11 on the day to win his third and final Masters title by five.

Fuzzy Zoeller, 1979 Masters – six shots

Fuzzy Zoeller celebrates after birdieing the second play-off hole to win the Masters

At the 1979 Masters, Ed Sneed took a commanding five-stroke lead over Tom Watson and Craig Stadler into the final day. But it was another famous name who would triumph at Augusta National.

Fuzzy Zoeller, playing in the Masters for the first time, came from six behind to post a clubhouse target of eight-under that would be good enough for a play-off after Sneed bogeyed his final three holes.

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And joining Sneed and Zoeller in the sudden-death showdown was Watson, already a three-time major winner and owner of a green jacket.

Beginning at the tricky par-4 10th, all three missed putts for birdie before they moved on to the 11th, where Zoeller converted from 6 feet for a three to capture the first of his two major titles.

Charl Schwartzel, 2011 Masters – four shots

Charl Schwartzel turns to the crowd after birdieing the final hole to win in 2011

In a similar vein to 1996, the final round of the 2011 Masters will live long in the memory. Having been in a league of one for the opening 54 holes, Rory McIlroy led by four over Angel Cabrera, K.J. Choi, Jason Day and Charl Schwartzel.

However, the Northern Irishman’s back-nine collapse – in which he dropped six shots in three holes from 10-12 – paved the way for the rest to battle it out on one of the most dramatic final days in the tournament’s history.

In the end, it was South African Schwartzel who prevailed, becoming the first champion to birdie the final four holes en route to a two-shot victory over Day and Adam Scott.