AUGUSTA, Georgia, April 9 Sergio Garcia, trying to end two decades of major disappointment, got the final round of the U.S. Masters off to a bright start with a birdie on the opening hole on Sunday to move one shot clear of Justin Rose.
The 37-year-old was asked if receiving the backing of those in attendance made his success more special and replied: "They were very supportive but I do have to say that the patrons here have always been incredible".
"I was thinking about Seve this week", Garcia said of the two-time Masters champion and the most charismatic player of his generation, who died in 2011. The runner-up said a few words, patted the new Masters champion on the chest and walked away, leaving Garcia to bask in a moment he'd been chasing for almost two decades. "To do it on his 60th birthday, it's something awesome".
Garcia celebrates a clutch putt early in his final round against Rose.
"If there's anyone I had to lose to, it's Sergio", Rose said. "He's had his fair share of heartbreak". "I played well. He made a great comeback".
Garcia was 0-for-73 in majors before he earned the green jacket on Sunday.
Garcia got a stroke back with a brilliant birdie on the par-4 14th and poured in a 15-foot eagle putt on the par-5 15th when his approach landed a foot from the hole and clipped the flagstick. I feel really confident here, this my favourite tournament of the year.
He missed a 14-foot par-saving putt that would've put some pressure on the Spaniard. Garcia squatted and shook with excitement, rose and screamed with joy and hugged good pal Rose before walking around the green to revel in the moment, pumping his fist and punching the green in delight.
Garcia says he has learned to accept bad bounces. But there's always a group that, I don't know, they are just trying to be amusing not only with me, with everyone, trying to be amusing or something. "I hit it where I wanted". "You deserve it all amigo!"
"It all happened on the last eight holes today and the patience I showed on the front nine was probably key on the back nine". He took an unplayable lie penalty, then punched into the fairway.
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Rose reached the top with a run of five birdies over his last seven holes.
"I need to change my golf ball".
"I thought Sergio played very composed, played very well, and he played like he wasn't going to be denied - even after he made a couple (of) mistakes", Nicklaus wrote on Twitter. "It's a really, really special week for me and I'm sure the emotions will hit me here at some point". I've been through so much with him.
"Like I said [after the second round], when you go out there and do your best, there's nothing else you can ask yourself for". "But this is a tournament I am going to win one day".
Charl Schwartzel of South Africa finished alone in third at 282 after a final-round 68, while Matt Kuchar (67) and Thomas Pieters (68) of Belgium tied for fourth at 283.
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Willett won the Masters previous year in just his second trip to Augusta National after finishing tied for 38th in 2015. "I feel so fortunate that I have been able to play many majors in a row and given myself a lot of chances".
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I think in any campaign there are so many cross currents and events and have some greater impact than others. One Twitter user even wrote that Clinton is such a cute grandma. "That has to be admitted", she said.
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Mickelson agreed to forfeit almost $1 million last May that authorities said he earned through an illegal stock tip from Walters. Davis, Walters's friend, business partner and golfing pal of more than 20 years, was the government's star witness.
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