Sergio Garcia wins the Masters, ends drought at the majors
- Author: Julie Sanders Apr 10, 2017,
Apr 10, 2017, 4:43
Congratulations to Garcia on his first major title, and thanks to Rose for making a cool moment just a little bit cooler.
Justin Rose birdied five of his last seven holes on Saturday and that left him six under par for the tournament alongside co-leader Sergio Garcia, the perennial almost man in majors looking to end his duck on Sunday. After all, most players would be happy with just one green jacket.
We have the image of his birdie putt sneaking in on the first playoff hole now to cement Garcia as a Masters champion with the major win drought snapped at 74 starts, but earlier on Sunday afternoon, the win was in doubt. He crouched in disbelief, and shouted above the loudest roar of the day.
Garcia and Rose were at 6-under 210.
Then, Garcia responded with an incredible turn that started with drama.
Garcia turned with his arms to his side, blew a kiss to the crowd and then crouched again and slammed his fist into the turf of the green.
Instead, the third round was time for the name players to vault to the top.
Rose, who started the day three off the lead, set the clubhouse lead for Garcia to match after an excellent back-nine around Augusta.
"If there's anyone to lose to, it's Sergio".
"I take confidence that I've put four great rounds together here in the past here, too", Rose said. He deserves it, he's had his fair share of heartache.
Jordan Spieth, the 2015 Masters champion whose back-nine Sunday meltdown a year ago cost him a repeat crown, fired a 68 to share fourth on 212 with fellow Americans Ryan Moore and Charley Hoffman, a co-leader until finding the water at the par-3 16th and making double bogey.
Deadlocked after nine holes, the two friends and rivals produced an enthralling back nine showdown worthy of any Masters champion in what became a head-to-head battle.
He struck back on the 14th, capitalising on a bogey from Rose to move within a shot of the Englishman.
Everyone figured this was coming, right? Can he rally in the last day to win? Four times he was runner-up. This was his third time playing in the final group.
But right when it looked to be over, momentum shifted to Garcia. But a bogey at 11 left him five back with five holes to play. He missed that for a three-putt bogey. Garcia birdied the 14th. He almost holed a wedge from the fairway on the 15th for another birdie and wound up with a 68.
Not since 1998 have the last two players on the course gone to the 18th tied for the lead, and both had their chances to win. His approach skidded through the green, not bad under the circumstances and leaving him an up-and-down from 45 feet.
"I've shot low ones here before". South Africa's Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters victor, was four-under in fourth with six holes to play. Matt Kuchar made a hole-in-one on the 16th that gave him hope but not for very long.
You'd think Thomas Pieters would take some solace in a T-4 finish at his first Masters.
Jordan Spieth found himself in the pine straw under the trees on the par-five 13th, a position similar to that from which playing partner Phil Mickelson played a brilliant shot on his way to the title in 2010. Jason Day had a 1-under 71 to finish on 2-over.
Rickie Fowler leads the chasing pack on -5.