Garcia wins 1st major title at the Masters

Garcia donned the Green Jacket after holding his nerve to triumph in a sudden death play-off against England's Justin Rose late on Sunday night. Only four others have won the Masters after taking low amateur honors - 18-time major victor Jack Nicklaus, 14-time major victor Tiger Woods, five-time major champion Phil Mickelson and two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw.

"Whew, it has been such a long time coming", Garcia said. "It's a lovely thing to have". And when Garcia pulled his drive and needed to take a penalty for an unplayable lie at the 13th hole, it seemed Rose was destined to win.

Garcia made the early running, with two birdies in the first three roles as Rose maintained his steady pace, eventually catching up as the pair reached the end of the front nine eight under. But Sergio striped another driver, then as Rose had to lay up, struck a gorgeous approach on 18 for the second time in a row.

"Should be a great match-up in the last group", Garcia said. I still believed that there were a lot of holes that I could get to. "I've had so many good chances and either I lost them or someone has done something extraordinary to beat me", said Garcia.

"It was kind of hard", McGinley said on Golf Channel on Monday.

He carried that attitude all the way to the 18th and when he missed a 5-footer that would've given him a win in regulation, he simply redoubled his effort. But his putt never had a chance and veered right from the hole. The 30-somethings drove their scores lower while young guns Rickie Fowler (1 under) and Jordan Spieth (1 under) struggled throughout.

There's no other place Mickelson would rather be than Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday, except where he was standing when he made those comments this year. When asked later if he thought he was going to get his first major, Garcia snapped, "Next question, please". He had to birdie three of his last four holes for a 75. "He deserves it", Rose said. If not for Garcia getting out of treacherous territory, Rose might have been competing against someone else down the stretch.

"It's always a nice to be a part of history", he added a moment later.

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This was Rose's 13th top-10 finish in a major and eighth top 5. Charl Schwartzel, who won here in 2011 with birdies on the final four holes, shot a 68 in the third round to move to 2 under and four shots behind. "I was like, 'Well, if that's what's supposed to happen, let it happen". Garcia hit laser irons shots at the 14th and 15th holes to set up a birdie and an eagle, respectively, forging a tie with three holes to go. Rose then birdied No. 16 while Garcia left a 6-foot birdie putt just short on the hole, giving Rose a one-stroke lead.

Rose certainly was convinced, the Olympic champion going toe-to-toe with Garcia in a back-nine battle that at times played out like a heavyweight fight.

Rose and Garcia headed to 16 tied at -9, and no one was really within striking distance of them. Garcia's fell apologetically off the club-face and dribbled wide, a two-second study in doubt and trepidation.

After falling out of contention in the third round of the 2012 Masters, Garcia famously delivered a brutal self assessment in which he said did not have what it takes to win a major. Pieters had played only 36 holes at Augusta National before teeing off Thursday, suggesting he may be a factor here for years to come.

Rose, who also closed with a 69, graciously patted Garcia's cheek before they embraced.

But the eve of this year's first major, Garcia received an inspirational message from compatriot and boyhood idol Jose Maria Olazabal, a twice Masters victor, saying he believed in him, stay calm and do not get rattled like in the past. Rose all control and precision, no emotion visible behind sunglasses and cap and dark clothing; Garcia with a desperation in his eyes, face pale from sunblock, grimacing and twitching and going down in flames.

"When I won at Merion I looked at it as I've got 40 majors in my prime and how many can I pick off", he said.

As they went to the turn, there were those watching at home wondering if they should turn off their televisions, go to bed and just live the rest of their lives pretending Garcia had won. After so many near-misses, final-round capitulations, and playoff defeats, Garcia held his nerve when it mattered most at Augusta.


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