Garcia wins hearts and Masters

Ross Houston
April 23, 2017

When Garcia and Rose headed to the first sudden death hole, I told my wife, "I'd like Sergio to win ... but no matter who does, I don't want one of them to lose, I want the other one to win".

Losing hurt, and it reached a point where Garcia acted as though he no longer cared.

On a day the stars all pointed towards Garcia, the emotional Spaniard was forced to take a tense route as Olympic champion Justin Rose made him work hard for his first Major win in 74 appearances.

"But it's happened", he said.

Finally, after 73 career starts in majors, the can't-miss kid who only five years ago said he he wasn't good enough to win a major, finally didn't miss.

A month later he finished second to Tiger Woods in the US PGA Championship at the age of 19, but had since recorded a further 21 top-10 finishes without tasting success.

His hopes were fading Sunday in the Masters - two shots behind with six holes to play - when his tee shot bounced off a tree and into an azalea bush, the kind of bad luck he had come to expect in the majors. "But I can live with that". Sunday would've been Seve's 60th birthday.

Garcia was playing his 71st consecutive major at Augusta National, a streak stretching back to the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Former European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley struggled to retain his composure during the live television commentary on Sky Sports. Rose, a popular figure in the game, gained more admirers as a gracious runner-up.

"I have plenty more looks and I feel good about it happening". "If anyone deserves it, it's Sergio". He has had his fair share of heartbreak.

There was never a charge from the pack - the 67s by Kuchar and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama were the low rounds - which allowed Rose and Garcia to focus on each other and the difficulty of the golf course.

"I think his career deserved a major and we were all anxious his career wasn't going to end with one", the Irishman said. He birdied No. 14 to pull within a shot, then almost holed out from 190 yards out on the par 5 15th, then rolled in a 14-footer for eagle to tie Rose for the lead. Rose rolled his chip down to 5 feet and missed the birdie putt. He turned this Masters on its head with a birdie on 14 and eagle on 15 to tie Rose, who birdied 15.

That set the stage for 18.

As images were shown of Akins, 31, reacting to Garcia's win, Alliss' muffled voice was heard saying: "She's got the shortest skirt on the campus". Rose's putt tickled the right edge and slid by and Garcia's putt missed badly, either due to a bad read, bad stroke or, given Garcia's perceived history, rotten fate.

"It's been such a long time coming", Garcia said after his win.

The players returned to the 18th tee for the first playoff hole.

Triumph finally came after his 12-foot birdie putt at the first extra hole on Augusta's par-four 18th. The biggest of all was Phil Mickelson, who won his first major at the 2004 Masters.

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