Augusta (United States) (AFP) – Spain’s Sergio Garcia captured his first major golf title on Sunday after 73 failed attempts, making a birdie on the first playoff hole to defeat Justin Rose and win the 81st Masters.
Garcia took his emotional, long-sought triumph over England’s Rose, the 2016 Rio Olympic champion and 2013 US Open winner, after they finished deadlocked on nine-under par 279 for 72 holes at Augusta National.
“Whew, it has been such a long time coming,” Garcia said. “I felt a calmness I never felt on a major Sunday.”
The 37-year-old Spaniard achieved the greatest triumph of his career on what would have been the 60th birthday of his idol, two-time Masters champion and three-time British Open winner Seve Ballesteros, who died of brain cancer in 2011 at age 54.
“It’s amazing,” Garcia said. “To do it on his 60th birthday, it’s something amazing.”
Last-group playing partners and friends Garcia and Rose were level for the lead at the start of what become a tension-packed thrill ride of a final round.