Garcia wins hearts and Masters

Sergio Garcia of Spain wears his green jacket and holds the Masters trophy after winning the 2017 Masters in Augusta

Those were the highest Sunday scores of anyone finishing in the top 20.

"It's unbelievable. To do it on his 60th birthday and to join him and Olazabal, my two idols in golf my whole life, it's something fantastic", Garcia said. And what I needed to do.

"I'm just thrilled to be standing here, it's always a lovely thing to have".

Sergio Garcia ended almost two decades of Major heartbreak when he beat Justin Rose in a playoff to win the US Masters on Sunday on what would have been the 60th birthday of his hero, the late Seve Ballesteros.

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. Instead, in the playoff, Rose hit his tee shot into the trees, and from there all Garcia had to do was make par from the fairway.

Sergio Garcia, of Spain, reacts after saving par on the 13th hole during the final round of the Masters golf tournament, Sunday, April 9, 2017, in Augusta, Ga.

And so it was Rose taking consolation honors, while Garcia celebrated his first major championship.

The eventual victor was Spain's Sergio Garcia who beat England's Justin Rose in a playoff after an epic duel on the famous back nine. Then Rose birdied his way back into a tie.

As soon as the putt slipped past the cup on the first playoff hole, Justin Rose knew it was over. But Rose bogeyed 17 to send it to the last, all square. "And I'm sure he helped a little bit with some of those shots or some of those putts". In the past I would have said to my caddie 'Why doesn't it go through?' But I was like, 'If that's what's supposed to happen, let it happen. But for the most part, I'm not going to sit here and second-guess one or two shots. "That putt really turned the clock a little bit for me".

Fowler, who finished tied for 11th despite beginning the final round Sunday only one shot off the lead, just played in his 29th major. Rose, this year's runner's up, and Rory McIlroy are the only other golfers under par and the only other golfers with 26 shots of Spieth since the start of the 2014 tournament.

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"I was really interested and surprised that nobody was able to make a run during the front nine", Rose said.

Garcia earned a $1.98 million at Augusta National - the richest prize in Masters history.

The two par-fives on the back nine proved pivotal, with Garcia making a clutch seven-footer to save par at the 13th before Rose missed a six-footer that would have taken him three clear. That, of course, was the year Phil Mickelson broke his own major drought by winning the Masters in dramatic fashion.

Back on level terms with three holes left, Rose landed the next blow by sinking an eight-foot birdie before Garcia missed a tricky five-footer.

There was a time, actually not that long ago, when it was kind of fun to watch Garcia suffer.

"I was thinking about Seve this week", Garcia said of the two-time Masters champion and the most charismatic player of his generation, who died in 2011.

"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".

"But I made peace with it, I accepted what Augusta gives and takes and it brought me here".

Twenty years after a 21-year-old Tiger Woods became the tournament's youngest victor and set a record for the lowest 72-hole total and widest victory margin, the tricky Augusta National course still rewards experience as well as raw talent.

"I think the problem is, because where my head was at sometimes, I did think about, am I ever going to win one?"

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