(CNN) -- South African Charl Schwartzel carded a six-under 66 final round to win the Masters in thrilling fashion at Augusta Sunday and claim his first major title.
Schwartzel finished with a stunning four birdies in a row to finish two shots clear of Australian pair Adam Scott and Jason Day on 14-under 274.
The 26-year-old started the final round in dramatic fashion by chipping in at the first and then eagling the third as he holed his wedge approach.
A bogey at the fourth temporarily halted his charge until his nerveless finish to break out of a log jam on the leaderboard.
"From the word go, things started to go for me," Schwartzel told gathered reporters in reference to his fast start.
"It was just a phenomenal day.
"There were so many roars. The atmosphere out there was incredible."
Tiger Woods briefly threatened to win his 15th major, but his eagle putt on the 15th lipped out and he ended with a five-under 67 for a share of fourth with England's Luke Donald and another Australian, Geoff Ogilvy at 10-under.
But there was more major heartbreak for Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy who stumbled to an eight-over 80, having started the final round with a four-shot lead on 12-under.
McIlroy made a nervy start but a triple bogey on the 10th effectively ended his challenge for a first major.
Ironically, he shares the same manager as Schwartzel, Andrew Chandler, but the contrast between the fortunes of the two young men on the final day could not be more different.
"I'm very disappointed but I will get over it. I have to take away the positives. I led this golf tournament for 63 holes," McIlroy told gathered reporters.
"Maybe it will build some character."
Schwartzel, who has made a strong start to the European Tour this season, wins exactly 50 years since the great Gary Player became the first South African to claim the Masters crown.
Argentina's Angel Cabrera finished seventh on nine-under, two better than South Korean K.J. Choi and American Bo Van Pelt, all of whom harbored victory hopes on the back-nine of one of the closest Masters battles in years.