Augusta, April 9: Spanish star Sergio Garcia claimed his first Major in 74 starts with a playoff win in the Masters over England’s Justin Rose.
The duo ended regulation play tied on nine-under-par at Augusta National after they virtually reduced the final stretch to matchplay.
Two birdies in his first three holes saw Garcia lead by three shots at one stage on the front nine. But Rose nailed three consecutive birdies from Hole 6 and when Garcia dropped shots on 10 and 11, it was the Englishman who led by two shots.
Garcia made a superb par save at the par-five 13th to remain two behind. He birdied the next hole and nailed a 15-foot eagle at the par-five 15th to draw level with Rose, who made birdie.
Rose regained the lead with an eight-foot birdie at the par-three 16th, where Garcia missed from closer in. The match was all square on the 18th tee when Rose failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker at the 17th.
Both men hit superb approach shots at the par-four 18th but neither managed to make their birdie putts from inside 10 feet and it was back to the final tee for the playoff. Rose blocked his tee shot into the pine needles on the right and could only punch out, finding the green in three and missing his par attempt from 15 feet. Meanwhile, Garcia played two superb shots to set up a 12-foot birdie, which he nailed to claim the Green Jacket
“I knew I was playing well. I felt the calmest I’ve ever felt on a Major Sunday and even after making a couple of bogeys I was still very positive… I hit some really good shots coming in and I’m so happy,” said the 37-year-old Garcia, who became from third player from Spain to win the Masters, joining Jose Maria Olazabal and the late Seve Ballesteros who would have turned 60 today.
“It’s amazing to do it on Seve’s 60th birthday and to join him and Olazabal, my two idols in golf, is something amazing. Jose sent me a text on Wednesday telling me how much he believed in me and what I needed to do… believe in myself, be calm and not let things get to me as I had in the past,” he added.
The final round not only saw amazing golf but great sportsmanship from Garcia and Rose, with the two good friends smiling and congratulating each other as they traded blows.
279 (-9) – Sergio Garcia 71-69-70-69*, Justin Rose 71-72-67-69
282 (-6) – Charl Schwartzel 74-72-68-68
283 (-5) – Matt Kuchar 72-73-71-67, Thomas Pieters 72-68-75-68
*Garcia defeated Rose on the first playoff hole, No. 18, with a birdie