Sergio Garcia Wins 2017 Masters At Augusta In Playoff For First Major Title: Scores, Highlights And More
Sergio Garcia was playing in his 74th major championship at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia this weekend, and on Sunday, he defeated Justin Rose in a contentious playoff to secure his first big title at the 81st Masters, the first since 1954 without legend Arnold Palmer.
Sergio Garcia Wins 81st Masters For First Major Title
The 37-year-old Spaniard and Rose both signed for their closing three-under 69s (279) to finish 72 holes at nine under par, then began their playoff on the par-4 18th hole, and Garcia ultimately came away with the green jacket after nearly 20 years of playing at the Masters. That green jacket, which was once bought for $5 at a thrift store, was sold at auction for more than $139,000 on Sunday, along with the putter Palmer used to win the 1964 Masters. That putter sold for more than $97,000.
Garcia finished in the top 10 at Augusta three times (2002, 2004, 2013), and now has the most career top-10s in majors history. Only two other Spaniards have won the Masters: the late Steve Ballestero, and Jose Maria Olazabal.
Fittingly, enough, Garcia’s big win came on what would have been Ballestero’s 60th birthday, and the 2017 Masters champion reflected on what the victory meant for him as an admirer of both Ballestero and Olazabal.
“It’s amazing. To do it on his 60th birthday and to join him and Olazabal, my two idols in golf my whole life, it’s something amazing,” Garcia told Jim Nantz on CBS following the win. “Jose sent me a text on Wednesday night telling me how much he believed in me and what I needed to do and just pretty much believing in myself and being calm and not let things get to me like I’ve done in the past.”
Ballesteros died of brain cancer almost six years ago. He won the first of his two Masters in 1980, three months after Garcia was born.
It was on the par-5 13th hole at Augusta on Sunday that the momentum began shifting away from Rose and back to Garcia.
Rose, who held a two-shot lead at that point, appeared strong in the fairway following a nice drive.
“I hit a really good iron shot into 13. I was playing for a little backstop behind the hole, hit a great shot and unfortunately it carried too far and set up a tough two-putt,” said Rose, a 36-year-old South African-born Englishman.
That shot from Rose truly flew slightly far and rested on the back fringe. That left a six-foot birdie attempt back up the hill.
“I didn’t hit that bad of a drive,” Garcia said, of his tee shot on 13. “I’ve been hitting that drive every day like a high cut. This drive was probably going three yards left of the ones I’ve hit the other three days, and unfortunately it hit the tree and went into the bush. In the past I would have said to my caddie ‘Why doesn’t it go through?’ But I was like, ‘If that’s what’s supposed to happen, let it happen. Let’s try to make a great five here and see if we can put a hell of a finish to have a chance. And if not, we’ll shake Justin’s hand and congratulate him for winning.”
Garcia’s fourth shot left 8 feet for par, which the Spaniard made.
“That par save there was big,” Garcia admitted.
Rose then missed, but was still up by two. Two holes later, Garcia caught up to his opponent to tie for the lead.
“That little two-shot swing there was kind of when he was back in the tournament,” Rose admitted. “I feel like if he misses at that point, I make, I’m four clear and I’ve got my eye on Thomas Pieters and Matt Kuchar instead.”
Kuchar, for his part, endeared everyone when he gave the ball he used to sink a hole-in-one on the par-3 16th hole to a young fan on the sidelines, a 10-year-old boy.
“I figured this would make a kid’s day and make a kid’s year,” said Kuchar, who posted a 67 to finish tied for fourth with . “It’s one of the neat things that we can do.”
Here is a highlight reel of Garcia’s greatest moments on Sunday:
An emotional round for the ages.
Highlights galore from Sergio on Sunday: pic.twitter.com/IPZ4RrlANh
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 10, 2017
Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion, has now finished second at the Masters twice in the last three years, and praised Garcia for his performance:
“If there’s anyone to lose to, it’s Sergio. He deserves it.”
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 10, 2017
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) April 9, 2017
Garcia, who first emerged as a promising golfer as a teenager following a runner-up finish to Tiger Woods at the 1999 U.S. Open, said he felt a mix of several feelings after sinking the winning putt on Sunday.
“Obviously, this is something I wanted to do for a long time,” García said, “but, you know, it never felt like a horror movie. It felt like a little bit of a drama, but obviously with a happy ending.”
The Spaniard and Rose finished three shots ahead of South African Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters winner, who recorded a 68 to finish alone at third.
Two of the tournament’s young American golfers, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, were placed together in the second-to-last pair. Both finished tied at 11th at one under-par, eight strokes behind Garcia and Rose. Fowler, who was also seeking his first major, recorded seven bogeys, including some on the last three holes, for a 76. Though they began Sunday within two shots of the lead, both Fowler and Spieth gave a lackluster showing the rest of the final round, just as Spieth had in last year’s Masters when he collapsed on the last day to surrender his 2015 title and green jacket to Englishman Danny Willett.
“I wasn’t doing much wrong. And that’s what was so tough,” said Texas native Spieth, who recorded a quadruple-bogey 7 on the par-3 12th last year at Augusta. “I didn’t feel like I was doing much wrong and I just look up and it just wasn’t landing where I thought it would.”
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) April 10, 2017
Jason Day and Phil Mickelson finished tied at 22nd with two over-par.
It was a rough day for Lee Westwood (T18), William McGirt (T22) and Charley Hoffman (T22) who all shot over-par rounds to drop out of the invite bracket.
Garcia added that for now, one major title is enough for him.
“I don’t know if I’ll be the best player to have only won one major,” he said, smiling, “but I can live with that.”
AUGUSTA, GA – APRIL 07: Sergio Garcia of Spain plays his shot from the fourth tee during the second round of the 2017 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2017 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)