Sergio Garcia beats Justin Rose to win first major
Apr 11 2017 by Kelly Saunders
Garcia came out on top at the first playoff hole where his birdie clinched his maiden Major title.
Garcia won his first major at the 74th attempt on Sunday, beating Justin Rose in a play-off to claim an emotional victory on what would have been his idol Seve Ballesteros' 60th birthday.
"I knew what I was capable of doing, and I believed that I could do it", he said.
The congratulations rolled in, led by a telegram from Spanish King Felipe VI saying "your achievement is a spectacular triumph for Spanish golf". "I feel like if he misses at that point, I make, I'm four clear and I've got my eye on Thomas Pieters and Matt Kuchar instead". But one you know with Garcia is that he is never going to do things the easy way.
It was a sensational battle between Garcia and European Ryder Cup team-mate Rose at the Augusta National. He took an unplayable lie and punched out only to see Rose knock his second shot just behind the green.
Seve's son, Javier Ballesteros, sent out his support for Garcia before the final round.
On what would have been the 60th birthday of two-time champion Seve Ballesteros, Garcia became the third Spanish victor at Augusta National with a birdie on the first extra hole following a sensational duel with his Ryder Cup team-mate.
Then there was the 2002 US Open, when Tiger would again keep him at arm's length, or the 2006 Open at Royal Liverpool, where Garcia and Woods played in the final group but the American held on again for victory.
Rose and Garcia started out tied for the lead. The tension was unbearable. Garcia almost holed his approach shot on the par 5, hitting the pin. Rose made no mistake. Bunkers that weren't raked until after he played out of them. Both men found the fairway. It didn't even graze the hole. And if he never wins another major in his career, he will always be a Masters champion, undoubtedly the most storied major in the history of the sport. But he hit a poor putt. One finds it hard to imagine that Garcia would have to go through a 17-year-drought at the majors despite being among the world's best. He only required one. All four of these golfers were chasing their first major championship, creating an atmosphere of competition that attracts golf fans from all over. "He deserves it", Rose said.
Garcia received congratulatory messages with Danny Willett, Paul McGinley, Michael Phelps and Rafael Nadal all taking to social media to praise his achievement. "Obviously I like where I stand now better", he added. "I just want to win here". He said, 'I'm not sharing my locker at the moment, and I hope that I get to do it with you'. To be honest, I have no complaints. I think the key was the par at 13. "I struck the ball well and I putted well". "I felt cool, calm and collected".
"Even after a couple of bogeys I was still positive that there were a lot of holes I could get to".
"It's a coin flip, is it going to jump or come out spinny", Spieth said.
"Congrats El Nino Vamos!" the Englishman tweeted while Michelle Wie, who also had to wait a long time before clinching her first major title in 2014, was delighted for Garcia. I feel really confident here, this my favourite tournament of the year. He shot a final round of 69 to finish on three under par.