Published: Tue, April 11, 2017
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

Garcia wins 1st major title at the Masters

"I'm sure he helped a little bit with some of those shots", said Garcia of the inspirational two-times Masters champion, who died in 2011 of brain cancer at the age of 54.

Sergio Garcia led by three strokes, trailed by two, took an unplayable lie, missed two putts in the final three holes that were barely longer than a yardstick.

Deadlocked at nine-under par as they reached the 72nd regulation tournament hole, both drove into the fairway.

Still, it was easy to sense Spieth's disappointment detailing his miscues after the round while Garcia and Rose were locked in battle that eventually was won by the Spaniard in a playoff.

Rose missed his birdie putt and tapped in for par, leaving Garcia to putt for his first major title. He missed and had to go into a playoff.

Six-time victor Jack Nicklaus hailed Sergio Garcia's victory in the Masters as "sensational" but admitted he feared the Spaniard was facing more major misery.

"He deserves it. He's had his fair share of heartbreak". You've got to put yourself out there. Rose birdied to match Garcia, then birdied the par-3 16th only to bogey and remain deadlocked to set up the closing drama. And hit a good shot into 10, which I rarely do. "At 37 Sergio broke the curse that lasted almost two decades since he was second at the USPGA in a battle with Tiger Woods at 19", Madrid's other sports daily AS said in its online edition. But there's always a group that, I don't know, they are just trying to be amusing not only with me, with everyone, trying to be amusing or something. He had to take a penalty shot to get out and hit his third shot 89 yards short of the green.

Garcia further emulated Olazabal by becoming the first champion since him to eagle a hole on the back nine, the new champion carding his at the par-five 15th, the same hole his hero achieved the feat on his way to his first win in 1994.

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History said the 37-year-old Spaniard would fold, as he had so often before.

"I knew what I was capable of doing, and I believed that I could do it", he said.

Garcia is not the first player that endured bad breaks and heartache in the majors before finally winning one.

McIlroy has finished in the top seven of all four stroke play events of a 2017 campaign limited by a rib injury, but will make some major changes on and off the course before returning to action at the Players Championship. But I just didn't get the ball up and down or make the putts I needed to make.

Masters Sunday is a little different this year, because the final round showdown isn't between two or three players.

Pieters was on the verge of contending until he bogeyed the 16th out of a bunker and finished fourth with Matt Kuchar, who aced the 16th. "We were cheering each other", Garcia said.

PAST CHAMPS HOVERING: Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth aren't the only past Masters winners hanging close to the top.

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