Sergio Garcia finally won his first ever major title by collecting the 2017 Masters trophy last night after a thrilling play-off with Justin Rose on the final day at Augusta.
The pair were tied on nine under par following closing rounds of 69, with the English Rose coming back from a three-stroke deficit to surge ahead by one shot after 16 holes. However, he bogeyed the 17th and failed with his birdie attempt on the final hole.
The drama continued as Garcia was unable to convert his birdie putt, sending the contest into a play-off for the first time since 2013.
This gave Rose a second chance at glory, but he could not recover after sending the ball into the trees. Garcia then kept his cool, putting from 12 yards for a tournament-winning birdie.
Garcia’s long wait finally ends
Sergio Garcia has been close to victory on a few occasions and has regularly finished in the top ten of tournaments throughout his career, but a major title constantly eluded him.
Finally, in his 71st consecutive major championship, the Spaniard was able to complete a big win and add the 2017 Masters to his trophy cabinet. Garcia has been a key member of Team Europe in the Ryder Cup and a well-respected member of the PGA Tour. Upon winning, Rose was quick to congratulate Garcia, who reigned victorious on the 60th birthday of his idol, the late Seve Ballesteros.
Back in 1999, Garcia finished second in the PGA Championship and was seen as one of the next big stars of the sport. With this in mind, perhaps nobody anticipated an 18-year wait for a major when young Garcia first made a name for himself, but the result shows the commitment and resilience needed to succeed at the top level.
How did the big names fare?
Despite the loss, Justin Rose can be happy with his efforts as he continues to be one of the top players in golf and will certainly be one of the contenders for this year’s US Open.
World number one Dustin Johnson was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to injury, while Rory Mcllroy finished in eighth place. One of the other big names of the sport, Jordan Spieth, struggled throughout and saw his hopes crushed after driving the ball into water on the 12th hole. Fellow American Rickie Fowler finished with a final round score of 76, leaving him tied for 11th with Spieth.
Further up the scoreboard, Charl Schwartzel finished in third place after a four-under par final round of 68, putting him three shots behind Garcia and Rose. After winning the Masters in 2011, the South African’s great performance this year should hopefully give him more momentum for the rest of the year.
While fellow countrymen Spieth and Fowler disappointed, Matt Kuchar’s fourth place finish was one of the surprises of the tournament. The world number 21 played some great golf throughout the tournament, including a spectacular hole-in-one on the 16th hole.
With plenty of golf still to play this year, it will be interesting to see if any names rise up the the PGA leaderboard in the coming months before the tour’s conclusion in September.