Bubba Watson closing in on another green jacket

PAUL NEWBERRY AP National Writer Published:

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Bubba Watson is closing in on another green jacket.

The 2012 Masters champion had a three-stroke lead with two holes left at Augusta National on Sunday.

Playing in the final group with Watson, 20-year-old Jordan Spieth had a two-stroke edge heading to the eighth hole. But Watson rapped in back-to-back birdies, while Spieth was making two straight bogeys.

Just like that, Watson was up by two shots at the turn.

He has led ever since.

Watson stumbled a bit with a bogey at the 10th, but Spieth knocked it in the water at the 12th and made bogey. Watson stretched his lead at the 13th with a booming drive that set up a two-putt birdie, taking his score to 8 under.

Jonas Blixt is tied with Spieth at 5 under.

Fifty-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez shot 71 for a 4-under 284, with Matt Kuchar another stroke back.

Another old-timer, Fred Couples, faded from contention. The 54-year-old made a double bogey at the 15th and wound up shooting 75, leaving him at 2-over 290.

The tournament essentially turned on the last two holes of the front side.

Spieth struck an ugly pitch at the par-5 eighth and wound up making bogey, giving up the lead when Watson rapped in a short birdie putt. A thunderous drive at the ninth put Watson in position to curl in a 10-footer for another birdie, while Spieth's approach rolled off the front of the green and he missed a 4-footer to save par.

With Tiger Woods recovering from back surgery, Spieth was trying to become the youngest major champion since 1931 and the youngest Masters winner ever. He was tied with Watson coming into the final round, but finally showed his age down the stretch -- dropping clubs and yelling at himself repeatedly over poor shots.

That was quite a contrast from the beginning. The young Texan got off to a spectacular start, playing the first seven holes at 3 under despite a bogey at the fifth. He rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt at the second, holed out a spectacular bunker shot at No. 4, stuck his tee shot to 2 feet at the par-3 sixth, and calmly sank a downhill 10-footer at the seventh.

Watson bogeyed the third hole, but matched Spieth's birdies at both par-3s on the front side.

Down the stretch, the left-hander known for his unorthodox style was as steady as can be.

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