Golf: Late night drama as Garcia sees off Rose to secure first Major
- Credit: AP
Sergio Garcia recorded an emotional victory at the US Masters last night as he secured a long overdue first major title on what would have been Spanish compatriot Severiano Ballesteros' 60th birthday.
Garcia beat Ryder Cup colleague Justin Rose with a birdie at the first play-off hole to end hopes of a second successive English win following Danny Willett's triumph in 2016.
Rose's drive in the play-off down the 18th was a poor one and he was only able to chip out before having to settle for a five while Garcia was straight down the middle and found the heart of the green before holing his putt.
Both men had posted three under par rounds of 69 to finish on nine under. Garcia had birdied the first and third in pursuit of a first major at the 74th attempt while Rose made a slow start, with four straight pars followed by a three-putt bogey on the fifth.
That briefly gave Garcia a three-shot lead, but Rose responded superbly with a birdie from 10 feet on the sixth. He followed suit at the seventh after a superb approach and then holed from 15 feet for a third birdie in succession to draw level.
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Garcia was fortunate to escape with a bogey after a wild approach to the 10th, but Rose succeeded in saving par from short of the green to take the outright lead for the first time. And that lead was soon two after Garcia drove into the trees on the 11th and was unable to save par.
Rose remained two ahead until his rival produced a timely birdie at the 14th - and that was just a prelude to an even more significant move from the Spaniard, who brilliantly eagled the par five 15th to briefly take the lead before the English star replied with a birdie of his own to draw level on nine under.
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Rose regained the initiative at the short 16th, producing a timely two before Garcia missed his own birdie attempt, but they were soon back on level terms after Rose failed to get up and down from the sand at the next.
Rose had a slice of luck on the 18th as his second took a fortunate bounce to land around 10 feet from the hole while Garcia was a good deal closer after a brilliant approach, but both men missed their putts and it went to a play-off.
Belgium's Thomas Pieters picked up four successive birdies on the back nine but bogeyed the 16th and finished with a 68 for a five under finish and a tie for fourth alongside Matt Kuchar who recorded a hole-in-one on the 16th on his way to a 67. South African Charl Schwartzel finished third on six under.