AUGUSTA – Sergio Garcia of Spain won the 2017 Masters defeating England’s Justin Rose after the first playoff hole, the 18th at Augusta National. It was Garcia’s first major championship in 74 tries.
To earn the victory, Garcia ripped a tee shot down the right side of the fairway after Rose’s errant tee shot left him with a very difficult approach under pine trees and needles. Rose chose to lay-up but missed the chip shot, leaving the ball just on the edge of the fairway. Garcia took full advantage and knocked his second shot within five feet of the hole.
Sergio Garcia (right) and Justin Rose
As the players walked back to the 18th green with thunderous ovations from the esteemed patrons of Augusta, Rose knew he would have to hole-out to put some pressure back on Garcia. That was not to be the case, as Rose approached his par putt and silence engulfed the crowd in a near perfect setting as the sun began to set. After carefully lining up his shot, Rose putted it wide by two inches, then had to tap-in for bogey.
Sergio Garcia at The Masters this week
As the pressure mounted during the final three holes of regulation play, each player missed an opportunity the win the tournament. Both Garcia and Rose missed mid-range putts on the 17th and penultimate hole, Rose missing for his par to drop his total to (-9). After missing his birdie putt on 17 by leaving it three feet short, Garcia managed to par the hole by hitting in the clutch. The Rose bogey halted his momentum and the players walked to 18 under the most intense pressure in the game, outside of the match play finals of Ryder Cup.
After near-perfect tee shots on the 18th, Rose knocked an approach shot to within 10 feet. Garcia answered back under incredible pressure to place his approach shot on 18 even closer, to within five feet of the hole. Rose was away and stepped up to his putt, confidently, but the difficult shot went inches wide, and he putted in for par.
Garcia then was in position to win the tournament with a testy three-four footer which he tapped wide.
“Today, I felt a calmness,” said Garcia to CBS Sports. “We were both trying to win, but we’re all just people. We have to represent our game. We’re good friends and we’re respectful of each other,” he added noting the sportsmanship fostered with his friend and European Ryder Cup colleague during the round.
“I’ve been at peace with this tournament, knowing what Augusta gives and takes.”
Earlier in the round, a similar tie was broken after Rose sunk his birdie putt, Garcia missed a relatively easy short putt on the 16th, allowing Rose to regain the lead on the 16th hole.
Earlier in the final round, Garcia (-9) hit his second shot within inches of the cup and putted in soon after for an Eagle three on the difficult 15th hole. Rose countered with a birdie and the players head to the 16th, each at (-9).