Rose takes Masters heartache on the chin after epic duel

Posted April 11, 2017

Garcia and Rose both carded 69 to finish tied on nine-under-par 279 at the end of regulation and send the year's first major to a playoff.

"It's been an awesome week", Garcia said, "and I'm going to enjoy it for the rest of my life". "I felt a calmness I never felt on a major Sunday".

"And this week, I've done it better than I've ever had, and because of that, I've looked at the course in a different way throughout the whole week".

Among Twitter notes of congratulations were: "I couldn't be happier for @TheSergioGarcia. I'm still the same goofy guy".

Sergio Garcia said it was "amazing" to join his Spanish idols Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal as a Masters champion after winning at Augusta.

He was the only player in the field to break par all four days. He made only seven bogeys and ground out 50 pars.

"A win at a major is big for any golfer, but the green jacket tends to stand out", Jacobs said. The sudden-death playoff was a bit anticlimactic, pretty much decided when Rose drove behind a towering magnolia tree right of the fairway, forcing him to punch out and hope he could somehow make par.

The final putt rolled only 12 feet, but it felt like 12,000.

The clip of Garcia and his soon to be wife celebrating in-sync was a great Masters moment. It had looked as though it was slipping away from him as a three-shot lead early on in the final round disappeared as he wobbled at the start of Amen Corner.

Rose and Garcia started out tied for the lead.

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When his ball found the pine straw at No. 10 and No. 11, both resulting in bogeys, Garcia was in trouble. Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler were nearly two holes ahead at one point, and with each hole, the gallery following Rose and Garcia swelled, eventually reaching 10 patrons deep.

Garcia revealed after the win that he hoped to be paired with two-time victor Olazabal, after the former Ryder Cup captain sent him a good luck note before the tournament. But he sank a 7-footer to save par.

But the lead remained at two, and Garcia had new life. "That little two-shot swing there was kind of when he was back in the tournament". "If I make and he misses, then I'm probably looking at Thomas Pieters or Charl Schwartzel as the ones to beat".

Garcia birdied the 14th to get within one. He missed again on 18, his par effort breaking across the hole, leaving Garcia with two chances for the title.

The two hit classic shots into 18 and then hit forgettable putts. "He deserves it", Rose said. When I came here in 1999 as an amateur, I felt like this golf course was probably going to give me at least one Major. I could have hit a better putt on 17, too.

"Well, " he went on, "I don't have to answer that anymore". "It was a special day". But the young Americans were never a factor.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler shared misery. "Lots of positives coming out of this week", said Spieth, adding the resilience was a golfer's best asset. Kuchar, who fired a five-under par 67 to finish tied for fourth at five-under 283, was celebrating the ace when he noticed a boy wearing a hat styled like that of PGA Tour-record 82-time victor Sam Snead, a button proclaiming he was a member of Arnie's Army in memory of the late Arnold Palmer, and a loud bright orange outfit matching the style of U.S. star Rickie Fowler. He's finished second three times, including twice at the Masters, and third six times.

Four-times major victor Ernie Els playing in his 23rd Masters, took what could have been his final bow at Augusta National, signing off with six-over 78 leaving the South African rock bottom of leaderboard on 20-over.

Garcia, 37, transformed before our very eyes Sunday, making the improbable journey from villain to hero with every step in his final-round odyssey.