Sergio Garcia wins the Masters


Sergio Garcia won the Masters on Sunday, beating Justin Rose on the first playoff hole to claim the first major win of his career.

Garcia birdied the 18th hole to take the victory after he and Rose had earlier finished the fourth round level on nine-under par.

The victory was especially sweet for Garcia, after no wins in 73 starts in majors, he finally triumphed on what would have been Spanish golf legend Seve Ballesteros’ 60th birthday.

Garcia and Rose started the day tied at six-under par, but Garcia took control with birdies at the first and third holes, while a bogey for Rose at five saw Garcia stretch his lead to three.

Rose then hit back immediately, sinking three birdies in a row starting on the sixth to pull level by the turn.

Garcia, who has a terrible career record on the back nine at Augusta, started the back nine badly again, bogeying the tenth and 11th to hand Rose a two shot lead.

The Spaniard then made a massive par save at the 13th after driving into a hazard and taking a drop, before making a great birdie at 14 to claw his way back to within one shot.

He continued his mini comeback on the 15th, hitting his second shot to within 15 feet to set up an eagle chance, which he duly holed to tie the lead after Rose also holed out for a birdie.

Garcia then followed it up with a beautiful tee shot at the sixteenth only for Rose to match him as they both ended up around 8 feet from the flag.

Rose rolled his put in to go to ten under, but Garcia’s slid by.

On the 17th Rose found the green-side bunker and made bogey while Garcia made par as they went to the final hole tied at nine-under par.

The 18th hole saw both players hit great tee shots, before Rose enjoyed a fortunate bounce on his second shot to finish within 10 feet of the pin.

Garcia then hit the shot of the day under pressure, pinging the ball to within six feet.

Rose rolled his birdie putt agonisingly past the hole, leaving the scene set for Garcia to roll in it – only he didn’t. So it went to a play off.

On the first hole Rose hit his tee shot right into the trees and could only punch the ball out onto the fairway, while Garcia nailed his drive and then hit a fabulous second shot into the green to about 12 feet.

Rose made the centre of the green with his third and then rolled his putt narrowly by to make a five, leaving the stage set for Garcia to grab that long-awaited win.

South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel finished in third place after shooting a 68.

Belgian Thomas Pieters finished at five under for fourth place in his first ever appearance at the Masters after a run of four straight birdies on the back nine that saw him finish with a 68.

He ended in a tie with veteran Matt Kuchar, who finished with a flourish, holing his tee shot at the par 3 16th hole for an ace and then closing with two pars for a 67.