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Player pleased for South Africa

Monday, April 11, 2011

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Gary Player became the first international champion of the Masters Tournament 50 years ago. With 25 guests at the Augusta house he was staying in, he watched on TV as fellow South African Charl Schwartzel won his first green jacket on Sunday.

Schwartzel closed with four consecutive birdies to finish at 14-under-par 274, two shots ahead of Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott.

"We're all so excited," said Player, a three-time Masters champion. "To finish with four birdies under that pressure was phenomenal. He kept his cool so well."

With 22 major championship victories since World War II, South Africa owns more titles than any other country aside from the United States.

"It means an awful lot," Player said. "South Africa is a great sporting nation. We've had great rugby players, great golfers, great hurdlers, great cricketeers, great swimmers. Physical training is a big part."

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or chris.gay@augustachronicle.com.

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