Sergio Garcia edges out Justin Rose to win Masters after play-off

Sergio Garcia edges out Justin Rose to win Masters after play-off

When the label first became popular in the early 1990s, it was easy to judge the candidates due to their victories, the number of majors they had played and how many times they came close to winning.

The win at Augusta did not come easy for Garcia.

That's why I don't want to spend too much time on Garcia. "I thought I had it on 18 (in regulation)". I felt great. I felt in control. "I was very calm, much calmer than yesterday, much calmer than I've felt probably in any major championship on Sunday".

"I hit some really good shots coming in - I'm so happy".

Rose's tee shot on the par-4 18th - the first playoff hole - sailed right and into the thick woods, but he got a kick back toward the edge of the fairway.

At the par-5 15th, Garcia blasted a tee shot beyond 300 yards then lofted his approach off the flagstick, to set up a 15-foot eagle putt that slowed before falling in to fist-pumping joy as the crowd roared. Rose's burned the cup, so Garcia had a short birdie putt to win the championship - and missed, prompting a playoff.

One of Garcia's idols and two-time Masters victor, Jose Maria Olazabal, was impressed with how he looked during his practice rounds which he believes was key to staying calm on the back nine on Sunday.

After four runner-up finishes and years of self doubt, Spain's Garcia finally delivered the long-awaited title that seemed destined to forever elude him.

No one had played more majors with less to show for it.

South African Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters victor, was third on 282 with American Matt Kuchar and Belgian Thomas Pieters sharing fourth on 283. Kuchar had a hole-in-one on the 16th hole. England's Paul Casey (68) ended up a solo sixth at 284, and Kevin Chappell (68) and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy (69) tied for seventh at 285.

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"I don't have to answer that anymore", he said.

"Obviously I'm 37. I'm not 22 or 25 any more, but I feel I still have a lot of great years in me and I'm excited for those", he told Golf Digest. "If there was anyone to lose to it would be Sergio". "He's had his fair share of heartbreak". Rose did birdie 15, but both were now level again.

Deadlocked after nine holes, the two friends and rivals produced an enthralling back nine showdown worthy of any Masters final round in what became a head-to-head battle after the other challengers fell away. Rose walked off the 11th green with a two-shot lead.

He was able to force a play-off against Rose, and the rest, as they say, is history. "I just needed one or two more putts to fall in".

"Could I have made the putt on 17?" "But this is a tournament I am going to win one day".

But his time at the top was brief as Rose broke his run of six pars with a nerveless birdie putt, and both contenders then peppered the pin at 16 and the Englishman piled on the pressure when he holed his slippery birdie putt.

One thing about that label over the years: It can be seen as a compliment ("At least 'best player, ' there's something good there", Garcia said). He could go on and win a couple more times this year for sure.

Bogeys on the 10th and 11th dropped Garcia two shots behind his playing partner and his challenge looked to be unravelling when a pulled drive on the 13th finished underneath an azalea bush. "We've always had a good friendship and a good camaraderie and good rivalry".

Tom Kite won the PGA Tour money title twice and had played in 67 majors as a pro before he finally won the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach when he was 42.