Masters 2018: How Augusta major is shaping up to be a classic

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Ian Poulter’s most timely victory in Houston put the perfect exclamation mark on an extraordinary build-up to this week’s Masters.

Rarely has there been more excitement before the journey that takes the world’s top golfers down Magnolia Lane to the verdant yet capricious pastures of the Augusta National.

Week after week has generated a captivating storyline this year, particularly when viewed through the prism of the first men’s major of the year. On Sunday in Texas, Poulter sensationally grabbing the last available Masters spot was entirely in keeping.

This was especially the case considering his dramatic backstory. The passionate Englishman thought his Augusta chances had been dashed with quarter-final defeat at the WGC Match Play, which left him 51st in the world and one place away from Masters qualification.Yet the man they love to call “the postman” delivered in spectacular style to make the sudden-death play-off against Beau Hossler.

Poulter held his nerve at the first extra hole and suddenly it was next stop Augusta, where he joins a field of in-form golfing thoroughbreds hell-bent on getting the job done to secure a landmark major win.

Take your pick from Rory McIlroy seeking to complete the career grand slam, Tiger Woods contending for a 15th major, Phil Mickelson trying to become the oldest Masters winner or Bubba Watson vying for a third Green Jacket.

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