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The Masters: Sergio Garcia outduels Justin Rose to land maiden major in 2017

The Masters: Sergio Garcia outduels Justin Rose to land maiden major in 2017

Sergio Garcia-666633782

Sergio Garcia won a sudden-death play-off against Justin Rose to claim his first Major Championship at the 74th attempt at the Masters Tournament in 2017. Ahead of the 2022 edition, we reflect on the Spaniard’s thrilling triumph five years on… 

After four second-place finishes over a then 18-year-long professional career, Garcia, at the age of 37, ended his long wait to win one of golf’s four majors after a dramatic final-round duel against his Ryder Cup teammate at Augusta National Golf Club. 

A birdie at the par-four 18th in the first play-off hole finally proved decisive for Garcia after a contest that will live long in the memory of the Masters.

Sergio Garcia wins the Masters-666629490

The victory saw Garcia emulate his golfing idols and become the third Spaniard to win the Masters, after Seve Ballesteros and José María Olazábal, on what would have been the 60th birthday of Ballesteros, who passed away in 2011.

He was also the first Spaniard to win at Augusta since Olazábal in 1999 – the year Garcia earned Low Amateur honours ahead of turning professional.

Sergio Garcia-666628690

Going into the final round, playing partners Garcia and Rose - who birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot a five-under 67 in the third round - shared the overnight lead on six under.

With eight players within five shots of the co-leaders, including three former Masters champions – Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel, the final round promised several switches in momentum.

However, from the outset, only Garcia or Rose ever looked likely to win the Green Jacket.

Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose-666584170

Garcia birdied the first and third to take a two-shot lead over Rose and Rickie Fowler, playing in the penultimate pairing alongside fellow American Spieth.

After a birdie at the third, Fowler made back-to-back bogeys as his round unravelled, eventually carding a four-over 76.

Meanwhile, reigning Olympic Gold Medallist Rose responded to a three-putt bogey at the fifth with three consecutive birdies to regain a share of the lead alongside Garcia at the turn.

Bogeys at the tenth and 11th by Garcia saw Rose, who was seeking to add a second major title to the U.S. Open he won at Merion in 2013, open a two-shot advantage.

An errant tee shot into the trees on the par-five 13th saw Garcia take a one-shot penalty because of an unplayable lie, only for him to make an impressive up and down to save par as Rose missed an inviting birdie putt.

Garcia, buoyed by his recovery, capitalised on a fine approach at the 14th to make his third birdie of the day, before a stellar second shot into the par-five 15th led to an eagle as Rose made a birdie to leave both players tied again.

However, Rose quickly regained the lead when he broke a run of six straight pars with another birdie at the par-three 16th.

The Englishman then bogeyed the 17th after finding a greenside bunker with his second shot, to leave the two players in a share of the lead at nine under heading to the par-four 18th tee.

Despite the pressure of the situation, Garcia and Rose continued to rise to the occasion as they created birdie opportunities to win the tournament in regulation play.

First, Rose read too much break in his seven-foot putt before he looked to the skies in frustration. Garcia then missed from four feet to bring about the first Masters play-off between two European players.

With light fading, the players returned to the 18th.

Rose pushed his drive right into the trees and he was forced to chip out. Garcia found the fairway and promptly seized the initiative by hitting his second to 12 feet.

From around 15 feet, Rose couldn’t make his par putt to give Garcia two putts to win the championship.

He would only need one and he duly sunk to his knees in celebration, before the duo shared a warm embrace on the green to highlight the respect they shared.

Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose-666619446

Speaking in his post-round interview, Garcia said: “To do it on his [Seve’s] 60th birthday and to join him and Olazábal, my two idols in golf my whole life, is something amazing.

“José sent me a text… telling me how much he believed in me. And what I needed to do, just pretty much to believe in myself, be calm and not let things get to me as I had in the past.”

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