Can Sergio Garcia Break Major Hoodoo On Seve Ballesteros's Birthday?


Sergio Garcia of Spain birdied the first hole in a sudden-death playoff to outlast Justin Rose of England and win the Masters on Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., breaking his 0-for-73 drought in major tournaments.

Garcia overcame a two-shot deficit with six holes to play in the final round - with a stunning eagle on the par 5 15th key to his comeback. That gave Garcia two putts from 12 feet for the victory, and his first swirled into the cup for a birdie. Faltering on the final two holes - No. 18 in regulation and in a playoff - Rose opened the door twice for Garcia.

"There's wonderful storylines. Obviously I'm a major champion, but I'm looking for more and I'm certainly looking for my first Masters and my first green jacket", said Rose, who made five of his seven birdies between the 12th tee and the clubhouse.

Fred Couples hits from a bunker on the 17th hole during the second round of the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 7, 2017, in Augusta, Ga.

The two golfers hit approach shots close to the hole on No. 18, with Rose putting first.

Garcia has developed an unwanted reputation as golf's almost man, but he shed that moniker at Augusta with a play-off triumph over Justin Rose. He lost a three-shot lead in the final round at Carnoustie in the 2007 British Open, and after losing in a playoff to Padraig Harrington, he said he was playing against "more than the field", intimating that somehow, the golfing gods were out to get him, too.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler were supposed to lead the American charge in the final round of the Masters but the USA pair fluffed their lines while Sergio Garcia delivered a storybook ending to the first major of the year.

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But the mistakes, including bogeys after a weak wedge shot on 14 and a missed putt on 18, held him back from making a run at the lead.

Rose reclaimed the lead at the 16th hole with a brilliant tee shot, which set up an 8-foot birdie putt that pushed his score to 10 under.

Suddenly, Rose was back to a one-stroke lead with two holes to go. Being in the final group is an incredible experience. Rose went into the rough and eventually bogeyed.

It was a wonderful battle and if there is anyone you want to lose to it's Sergio.

His victory in the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion confirmed his place among golf's elite players and he finished runner-up to Jordan Spieth in the 2015 Masters. Also an afterthought was Rickie Fowler, who started one shot behind and shot 76.

Garcia has garnered a reputation as one of the greatest golfers to never win a major.

QUOTEWORTHY: "I felt a calmness that I never felt on a major Sunday".

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They all erupted around the 15th green when Garcia drained an eagle, just the fifth of the week there.

Matt Kuchar is in the clubhouse with a 67, leaving him three shots behind at 5 under.

"What he said, he mentioned just that you know what you have to do, just believe in yourself". Rose then tapped Garcia on the heart, which turned out to be a lot bigger than anyone realized.

With the famed 7,345-yard layout set up to force hard decisions on players, potential eagles and possible mishaps awaited the world's greatest shotmakers with crowds ready to scream in delight, their roars echoing through the Georgia pine trees.

"Best of luck Sergio Garcia".

He summed up his rundown saying, "There's wonderful storylines".

Day had a great chance to keep things going on the par-3 16th, but his birdie try from 45 feet grazed the cup. After opening with that 75, which included an ugly quadruple-bogey 9 on the 15th hole Thursday, Spieth made only three bogeys the next 36 holes to shot 69-68 and close in on the leaders. Spieth, though, started clawing back with a birdie on No. 16 to reframe his focus and, although he was 10 shots down he's just two back heading into the final round.

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