Final round of Masters packed with 'wonderful storylines'

Posted April 11, 2017

Sergio Garcia won his first major in dramatic fashion by defeating Justin Rose in a playoff hole on Sunday at the 2017 Masters Tournament.

Garcia's win came on what would have been the 60th birthday of his mentor, two-time Masters champion Seve Ballesteros, a swashbuckling Spaniard who died from brain cancer in 2011. Rose's playoff tee shot soared deep into trees right of the fairway but bounced out onto pine straw while Garcia found the fairway.

Garcia took his emotional, long-sought triumph over England's Rose, the 2016 Rio Olympic champion and 2013 US Open victor, after they finished deadlocked on nine-under par 279 for 72 holes at Augusta National.

There was never a charge from the pack - the 67s by Kuchar and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama were the low rounds - which allowed Rose and Garcia to focus on each other and the difficulty of the golf course.

Justin Rose had a chance to put pressure on Garcia with a birdie putt on the 72nd hole.

The winning putt swirled into the cup on the first playoff hole, giving "El Nino" a Masters green jacket and giving the country's golden generation of sports stars a new life.

Sunday at the Masters was a most joyous occasion, far different from when Garcia teed it up in his first major as a pro in the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie. He has had his fair share of heartbreak.

"I'm really pleased with the way we finished this round to get back to red" under par numbers, Spieth said. The Spaniard had consecutive bogeys at 10 and 11, and his errant drive at the par-5 13th forced him to take a one-stroke penalty, putting Rose in position to build a commanding lead.

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He hit wedge to 7 feet and escaped with par. Woods may have been capable of winning with his "B" game, but no-one else is, not even current number one Dustin Johnson. "I thought I had it on 18 (in regulation)".

"I'm not going to beat myself up whatsoever", he said.

"And some of the moments I've had here at Augusta that maybe I haven't enjoyed as much and how stupid I really was trying to fight against something that you can't fight - and how proud I was of accepting things". Rose missed his shorter attempt, leaving the margin at two strokes when it very well could've been double that. 6-8, to catch Garcia.

Not since Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal in 1994 had a Masters champion eagled on the back nine in the final round.

"I knew what I was capable of doing, and I believed that I could do it", he said.

Their first time around was good enough to get there, Rose getting a bounce to remember off the top of the greenside trap with his final approach and his ball rolled to two metres.

"We've been having a blast this week", Fowler said. Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, playing in the penultimate group, had already begun to fade away instead of making the expected charge.