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Sergio Garcia is the new Masters champion!

Golf

Sergio Garcia is the new Master!

Spaniard Garcia broke his major bogey to clinch a maiden Masters title at Augusta on Sunday in a playoff to hold off the challenge of Englishman Justin Rose in a drama-filled final round and earn his first Green Jacket.

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Sergio Garcia is pumped up after making an eagle putt on the 15th at the Masters on Sunday, while Justin Rose prepares to putt. Photo: David Goldman, AP

Having ended on 9-under-par after 72 holes, the two Europeans went into a sudden-death playoff, the 17th playoff in the history of the tournament.

The 36-year-old Rose miscued his tee shot to the right at the 18th, and while he had a fortunate bounce off the trees, his ball finished up in the second cut of rough.

In contrast, Garcia drilled his effort on to the fairway to enjoy the advantage.

Rose was left with a bad lie and could only just find the fairway with his second, and Garcia produced a fantastic approach to within 10 feet of the pin.

Rose found the green with his third, but missed his par putt, which left Garcia with two putts to win.

The 37-year-old Garcia duly rolled it in to break his drought at the majors in his 74th attempt, with the crowd chanting “SERGIO! SERGIO!”

Garcia pulled out all the stops on the 18th in regulation play just to make the playoff. Under pressure after Rose drilled his approach shot to within eight feet of the pin, Garcia went even closer, around five feet.

Unbelievably, Johannesburg-born Rose missed his putt for birdie to hand Garcia a golden opportunity to finish things off.

But it wasn’t to be as Garcia’s effort slid by the right-hand side of the cup, and both players made their pars to post rounds of 3-under 69 to extend the tournament into a playoff.

South African Charl Schwartzel was closing in on Rose and Garcia with three birdies in five holes from the ninth to the 13th, but his momentum was halted with a bogey on the par-four 14th.

The 2011 champion, Schwartzel posted a 68 on the day to finish alone in third on 6-under-par.

Independent Media

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