Masters 2017: Sergio Garcia admits winning at Augusta would be a dream
- Author: Julie Sanders Apr 10, 2017,
Apr 10, 2017, 22:25
Sergio Garcia has won his first Masters, beating Justin Rose in a sudden-death playoff to cap a spectacular final round on Sunday.
Garcia had two putts to win when he lined up for his decisive shot. Garcia effortlessly nailed another handsome second shot, his ball landing about 10-12 feet from paydirt.
He finished Friday at 4-under 140, tied for the lead with Charley Hoffman, Rickie Fowler and Thomas Pieters midway through the tournament.
Day said his wife, Ellie, "was kind of ready to slap me in the face because I was so negative with myself".
Garcia shot 3-under-par 69 Sunday and finished at 9-under overall. The Scot has now played two Masters and missed the cut both times. "In 13 years today the conclusion is I need to play for second or third place".
"I was thinking about Seve this week", Garcia said of the two-time Masters champion and the most charismatic player of his generation, who died in 2011.
"You know, it would be nice to have a chance and hopefully I can do it".
It was the 37-year-old Garcia's first major championship in 74 starts. On 13, I hit a lovely drive and a handsome second shot straight over the flag and I made six.
"The support I felt out there, this week was wonderful", Garcia said. "I was like, 'Well, if that's what's supposed to happen, let it happen". Maybe it's something psychological.
Garcia is scheduled to get married this year to Angela Akins, a former golfer at the University of Texas who worked for the Golf Channel.
He disowned that comment this week, saying after his second round that, "I was frustrated (then)". I just want to win here.
Afterward, Garcia was asked again about that 2012 meltdown, when he seemed resigned to a fate of never winning the big one.
"A lot of things were going through my mind, my people, my moments that didn't go the way I wanted", Garcia said. I have an wonderful life. I love what I do. This was his third time playing in the final group. "I think I'm a little bit calmer now. But with a happy ending".
Garcia overcame it all.
In what was expected to be a throwdown of a final round with six players within four shots of the co-leaders Garcia and Rose at the start of the day, it turned into a back-nine duel between the friends, who traded blows.
With positive memories from his first major title here two years ago and picture-perfect conditions, Spieth was eager to embrace the challenge of moving up the leaderboard. Spieth struggled to a 3-over 75 that would've been much worse without three birdies in his final four holes. Rose's approach drifted right but fortuitously bounced towards the flag after taking a big kick off a greenside mound, Garcia following that with the shot of his life, sticking his iron from 135 yards out to five feet.
Rose held his nerve over a curling par putt on the 14th, but Garcia cashed in on the momentum and drilled a short birdie to pull back within one.
Then Garcia spectacularly eagled the par-five 15th, his approach pitching inches from the hole and rolling to 14 feet, from where he holed out to a massive roar from the gallery.
He didn't get down after missing a 6-foot putt on the 16th hole to fall out of the lead, or missing a 5-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole that would have won in regulation.
"He's probably got Seve with him right now", Canada's Adam Hadwin had said earlier on Sunday. Ballesteros was Garcia's childhood golfing hero, and Garcia had to answer questions all week about what it might mean to win the tournament on Ballesteros' birthday. Finally, on Sunday, he was elusive enough to shake it.