Stars align for Garcia Masters win

He was a good sport throughout the entire round, though, and even gave Garcia his moment to shine before sinking his final putt by allowing Garcia to walk ahead of him to the cheers of the crowd. "But I knew what I was capable of doing, and I believed that I could do it. Thanks to that, I was able to do it". And what I needed to do.

"It's just something you grow up always doing".

"I'm surprised how cool I felt".

Five years after claiming he was not good enough to win a major, Sergio Garcia proved himself wrong in thrilling fashion by beating Justin Rose in a play-off for the Masters.

Rose birdied the par-three 16th to take the advantage, but the Englishman - who won the Olympic gold medal in Rio previous year - got out of a bunker on 17 only to miss a par putt to leave them tied going down the last.

Spain's Sergio Garcia has ended almost two decades of major disappointment by beating England's Justin Rose in a playoff to win golf's US Masters.

In his 71st major as a professional, things looked grim for Garcia when he missed a 5-foot birdie late. On 13, I hit a lovely drive and a attractive second shot straight over the flag and I made six.

The run left Rose tied with Charley Hoffman at 6-under par. 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.

"He definitely popped in my mind a couple of times and I'm sure he helped a little bit with some of those shots or some of those putts", Garcia said of the swashbuckling Ballesteros, who died of brain cancer in 2011. "I kind of came to peace with it (not happening)", Garcia said. "I felt I could go out there and freewheel it, and I hit two great shots to finish it".

"I'm really pleased for Sergio". I felt great. I felt in control.

That's right. According to recent history, Jordan Spieth, who made a quadruple bogey on the 15th hole on Thursday, won't win the 2017 Masters.

Spieth was filled with positive vibes from his comeback over the past two rounds. In fourth at 5 under were Matt Kuchar, who aced the 16th and shot 67, and Thomas Pieters (68), who gave a strong run at becoming the first player since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 to win the Masters in his first try.

But Rose charged back into the lead later on in the front nine.

"That two-shot swing was when he was back in the tournament", Rose said.

Garcia was certainly a popular victor with the gallery at Augusta, who urged him on throughout the back nine either in English or Spanish, just when it looked like he was going to come up short again. By the same token, it also marked his best finish in one of golf's four big events since the 2014 season. That, of course, was the year Phil Mickelson broke his own major drought by winning the Masters in dramatic fashion.

Ballesteros, the first European to become Masters champion and a two-time victor here, was one of Garcia's two golfing heroes as he was cutting his own teeth in the sport. Garcia's wait was longer.

"In the past, I would have started going at my caddie, 'Why doesn't it go through?' and whatever", Garcia said. "In 13 years I've come to the conclusion that I need to play for second or third place". Could I have made the putt on 17?

Kyle Dawson covers sports for the Aiken Standard.

  • Julie Sanders