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The Masters 2017 - Round 4 Reports - Scores

Sergio Garcia claims title in playoff

Sergio Garcia tugged the lapel of his green jacket with both hands, proud of his prize and how he earned it.

His hopes were fading Sunday in the Masters - two shots behind with six holes to play - when his tee shot bounced off a tree and into an azalea bush, the kind of bad luck he had come to expect in the majors. Instead of pouting, he figured out how to make par.

Five feet away from winning, his birdie putt peeled off to the right. Usually resigned to fail, Garcia proved to be more resilient than ever.

He was a new man with a new title: Masters champion.

Major champion.

''It's been an amazing week,'' Garcia said, ''and I'm going to enjoy it for the rest of my life.''

After nearly two decades of heartache in the tournaments that define careers, Garcia finally showed the mettle to win a major. He overcame a two-shot deficit against Justin Rose and won on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.

No one ever played more majors as a pro (70) before winning one for the first time.

Garcia got rid of the demons and the doubts with two big moments on the par 5s - one a par, the other an eagle - in closing with a 3-under 69. It was never easy until the end, when Rose sent his drive into the trees on the 18th hole in the playoff, punched out and failed to save par from 15 feet.

That gave the 37-year-old Spaniard two putts from 12 feet for the victory, and his putt swirled into the cup for a birdie.

He crouched in disbelief, both fists clenched and shaking, and he shouted above the loudest roar of the day.

Rose, who also closed with a 69, graciously patted Garcia's cheek before they embraced. Rose then tapped Garcia on the heart, which turned out to be a lot bigger than anyone realized.

''Ser-gee-oh! Ser-gee-oh!'' the delirious gallery chanted to Garcia. He turned with his arms to his side, blew a kiss to the crowd and then crouched again and slammed his fist into the turf of the green.

All that Spanish passion was on display, raw as ever, this time sheer joy.

''Justin wasn't making it easy. He was playing extremely well,'' Garcia said. ''But I knew what I was capable of doing, and I believe that I could do it.''

Garcia became the third Spaniard in a green jacket, winning on what would have been the 60th birthday of the late Seve Ballesteros. And it was Jose Maria Olazabal, who won the Masters in 1994 and 1999, who sent him a text on the eve of the Masters telling Garcia to believe and ''to not let things get to me like I've done in the past.''

He didn't get down after missing a 6-foot putt on the 16th hole to fall out of the lead, or missing a 5-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole that would have won in regulation.

His chin was up. He battled to the end.

''If there's anyone to lose to, it's Sergio. He deserves it,'' Rose said. ''He's had his fair share of heartbreak.''

This was shaping up as another, especially after Garcia watched a three-shot lead disappear as quickly as it took Rose to run off three straight birdies on the front nine.

Tied going to the back nine, Garcia immediately fell two shots behind with wild shots into the pine straw bed under the trees. Rose was poised to deliver a knockout on the par-5 13th when Garcia went left beyond the creek and into the bush. He had to take a penalty shot to get out and hit his third shot 89 yards short of the green. Rose was just over the back of the green in two, in position to turn a two-shot lead into four.

Everyone figured this was coming, right?

Garcia himself had said, in a moment of self-pity, that he didn't have what it takes to win a major. Four times he was runner-up. This was his third time playing in the final group. But right when it looked to be over, momentum shifted to Garcia.

He hit wedge to 7 feet and escaped with par. Rose rolled his chip down to 5 feet and missed the birdie putt. The lead stayed at two shots, and the game was on.

Garcia birdied the 14th to get within one. His 8-iron into the par-5 15th - ''One of the best shots I hit all week,'' he said - landed inches in front of the hole and nicked the pin, and he holed the 14-foot eagle putt to tie for the lead.

Rose took the lead with an 8-foot birdie on the 16th and gave it back by missing a 7-foot par putt on the 18th.

Not since 1998 have the last two players on the course gone to the 18th tied for the lead, and both had their chances to win. Rose's approach hit off the side of the bunker and kicked onto the green, stopping 7 feet away. Garcia answered with a wedge that covered the flag and settled 5 feet away.

Both missed.

The playoff didn't last long. Rose was in trouble from the start with a tee shot that sailed right, leaving him blocked by a Magnolia tree. He chipped out under the tree, hit his third shot to 15 feet and missed the par putt.

Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel birdied the 18th for a 68 to finish third. Matt Kuchar made a hole-in-one on the 16th that gave him hope but not for very long. He tied for fourth with Thomas Pieters, who ran off four birdies on the back nine.

Jordan Spieth, starting the final round only two shots behind, put another tee shot into the water on No. 12 long after it mattered. He had to birdie three of his last four holes for a 75. Also an afterthought was Rickie Fowler, who started one shot behind and shot 76.

All that mattered was Garcia and Rose, who delivered a final hour as compelling as any at the Masters and a champion who began to wonder if he would ever win a major.

Garcia says he has learned to accept bad bounces. He realized he has a ''beautiful life'' even if he never won a major.

''If it, for whatever reason, didn't happen, my life is still going to go on. It's not going to be a disaster,'' Garcia said.

And then smiling, he added, ''But it happened.''

Justin Rose just misses green jacket

As soon as the putt slipped past the cup on the first playoff hole, Justin Rose knew it was over.

He took off his cap and stood to the side of the green, resigned to his fate.

Not two hours earlier, it looked like the Masters was his for the taking.

Now, all Rose could do was watch as Sergio Garcia curled in a 12-foot birdie to finish off a dramatic duel at Augusta National .

''It was a wonderful battle with Sergio,'' Rose said Sunday evening, ''I just needed one or two putts coming in.''

He grimaced a bit, no doubt remembering the little 6-footer that skidded by the cup on No. 13, when he had a chance to put Garcia away after the Spaniard drove one under an azalea bush.

Or perhaps he was thinking of the 7-footer at the 17th, the one he just didn't hit hard enough, resulting in a bogey that sent him to the 72nd hole tied with Garcia.

And he'll never forget that final hole of regulation, his first crack at No. 18, where another 7-footer burned the edge of the cup. It really stung when Garcia missed an even shorter putt.

But Rose isn't going to beat himself up too much.

''I would say this one probably is one that slipped by, for sure,'' the 36-year-old Englishman said, quickly adding: ''I can't pick holes in my performance. I felt fantastic out there. I felt cool, calm and collected.''

In the end, it wasn't enough.

Garcia, generally recognized as the best player never to win a major championship, finally removed that stigma against someone who knew a bit about how that felt before his breakthrough victory at the 2013 U.S. Open .

''If there's anyone I had to lose to, it's Sergio,'' Rose said. ''He's had his fair share of heartbreak.''

Indeed, Rose seemed genuinely happy for a player he considers both a rival and a friend. The sudden-death playoff was a bit anticlimactic, pretty much decided when Rose drove behind a towering magnolia tree right of the fairway, forcing him to punch out and hope he could somehow make par.

He had a shot, hitting his approach to about 14 feet. But the putt missed to the right this time, and Garcia made it a moot point by rolling in his birdie.

As soon as it was over, Rose walked out to embrace Garcia in the middle of the green. 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 nearly two decades.

''It's always nice to be a part of history,'' Rose said. ''I would have liked to be on the right part of it.''

What a final round it was.

Rose and Garcia started out tied for the lead. Garcia quickly pulled ahead by three shots, thanks to his pair of birdies and a bogey by Rose, but his playing partner erased that deficit before the turn with three straight birdies.

At that point, it was apparent this would be a two-man race. Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, playing in the penultimate group, had already begun to fade away instead of making the expected charge. A few players had a fleeting bit of hope, most notably Matt Kuchar after a hole-in-one at the 16th, but no one seriously challenged the guys out front.

Actually, it looked like Rose might win going away when Garcia's swing turned wobbly on the back side. The Spaniard had consecutive bogeys at 10 and 11, and his errant drive at the par-5 13th forced him to take a one-stroke penalty, putting Rose in position to build a commanding lead.

From just off the back of the green, Rose knocked his eagle putt past the cup but still had a very good look for birdie. Garcia sank a testy 8-footer to save par. Rose missed his shorter attempt, leaving the margin at two strokes when it very well could've been double that.

''That little two-shot swing there was kind of when he was back in the tournament,'' Rose said. ''I feel like if he misses at that point, I make, I'm four clear.''

Garcia birdied the 14th and followed with a brilliant 8-iron off the flagstick at the 15th, setting up an eagle that tied him for the lead.

Rose went back ahead with a birdie at the 16th, Garcia pulled even again when Rose bogeyed the 17th, and they both missed those short ones at the 18th.

For the playoff, they played the hole known as Holly again.

Finally, Rose buckled.

''It's going to sting for sure,'' he said. ''But you know, I really feel like this is a tournament that I can still go on to win. I'd like to win three or four green jackets, but one would be enough.''

Rose certainly had his chances in this one.

Jordan Spieth disappointed by final round

Jordan Spieth played the final round of the Masters precisely how he planned - which is why he couldn't believe his run at another green jacket Sunday turned into one of the worst rounds at Augusta National in his young career.

He was still shaking his head in disbelief when he walked off the course.

Spieth, the 2015 Masters champ, began the day at 4 under, two strokes behind co-leaders Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia and was thrilled about his chances of winning his second Masters. Instead, Spieth opened with bogeys on two of his first three holes.

It took a late run to get to 75, a score he shot here in the opening round and his largest number in 16 career rounds at Augusta National.

Spieth wound up eight shots out the playoff and scratching his head why what he saw unfold on the course did not match up to his bogey-filled scorecard.

He said the results weren't shocking, ''just a little bizarre.''

Spieth was filled with positive vibes from his comeback over the past two rounds. After opening with that 75, which included an ugly quadruple-bogey 9 on the 15th hole Thursday, Spieth made only three bogeys the next 36 holes to shot 69-68 and close in on the leaders.

With positive memories from his first major title here two years ago and picture-perfect conditions, Spieth was eager to embrace the challenge of moving up the leaderboard. But Sunday, he had just one birdie to go with five bogeys and a double-bogey 5 on the 12th hole when his tee shot went in the water to fall out of contention.

Spieth thought distance control was his undoing in the final round. He said when he hit crisp, high arcing shots often they landed a yard or two into the rough, making it difficult to navigate the subsequent approach.

''It's a coin flip, is it going to jump or come out spinny,'' Spieth said. ''And I missed those coin flips, five for five. I lost five coin flips on my guesses. But they were all good swings and I was proud of them.''

Still, it was easy to sense Spieth's disappointment detailing his miscues after the round while Garcia and Rose were locked in battle that eventually was won by the Spaniard in a playoff.

Spieth stopped each time the huge gallery shouted while Garcia and Rose putted out.

''Oh, two misses,'' Spieth said as he looked toward the scoreboard.

Spieth used a late rally to control the damage in his round, making birdies on the 15th, 16th and 18th holes to finish at 1 under overall - the fourth time in four career appearances he broke par at the Masters. He tied for 11th, ending a remarkable run of finishing second, first and second the past three years.

''I'm really pleased with the way we finished this round to get back to red'' under par numbers, Spieth said. ''Because for a while there, it was 'What are we doing?' And I wasn't doing much wrong and that's what was so tough.''

The 23-year-old from Dallas won't spend too much time worrying about what happened this week, confident that his demeanor, poise and attitude throughout will serve him well the rest of the season. There are many big tournaments ahead and Spieth believes how he played will help him contend in them all.

''It was the most free that I've ever felt at Augusta National,'' he said. ''So be it that I end up shooting one of my worst rounds.''

No dream finale for Ernie Els

It was not the U.S. Masters farewell Ernie Els would have wanted but the smooth-swinging South African was looking pretty cheerful as he walked off an 18th green bathed in warm sunshine on Sunday.

The four-times major champion and former world number one has never worn the Augusta Green Jacket, two runners-up spots being the highlights of his 23 trips to the year's first major.

After many battles with the game's finest players, Els played the final round in the company of a marker in the shape of Augusta member Jeff Knox and his scratchy 78 left him rock bottom of the field on 20 over par.

The 47-year-old known as "The Big Easy" strode towards the clubhouse to a smattering of polite applause before reflecting on his Masters career.

"It's just special to be here again at this amazing event," a beaming Els told reporters.

"To have been able to come here for 23 years, to somewhere you dreamed of playing at has been an incredible experience.

"I don't feel too emotional right now but that's probably because of the way I played. I was atrocious."

The five-year Masters exemption Els received for winning the 2012 British Open runs out this year and he will have to win a PGA Tour event to qualify for the Augusta major.

He has not given up hope of doing that but the likelihood is that he will not get another chance to play the event in which he finished second to Fiji's Vijay Singh in 2000 and to American Phil Mickelson in 2004.

The dramatic last-round duel with Mickelson will go down in Masters history.

Els shot a brilliant 67 that looked set to earn him a playoff at least, but the left-hander drained an 18-foot birdie putt to win his first major.

Els said his fondest memories of Augusta were from his first appearance in 1994 when he got to play with American former champion Ben Crenshaw and Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal who went on to win the tournament.

"That was incredible to play with Ben who was an absolute Masters specialist and Jose Maria who was the champion that year," said Els, who lifted the U.S. Open trophy a few weeks after his Augusta debut.

He won the same major again in 1997 and twice got his hands on the British Open Claret Jug.

The Green Jacket remained elusive though.

"This tournament was just not for me," he grinned. "But I have loved every minute of being here and I'll come back somehow. Maybe just to have a couple of beers."

Matt Kuchar aces way to fourth

Matt Kuchar made a hole in one at the par-three 16th on the way to finishing tied for fourth in the U.S. Masters on Sunday, the highest-placed American at the year's first major.

The 38-year-old struck a perfect seven-iron from 179 yards, the ball landing on the green, running up a slope before taking a hard turn to the left. It then trickled back down into the left side of the cup to wild cheers from the gallery.

The only ace at this year's Masters took Kuchar to five under par and he parred the last two holes to finish tied for fourth, four shots behind Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose.

Garcia beat Rose in a playoff to claim his first major title.

"What a thrill," Kuchar told reporters. "It's funny, that hole has given me problems in the past."

After celebrating wildly with his caddie on the tee, Kuchar walked to the green and retrieved his ball, which he signed and presented to a young boy wearing a bright orange T-shirt in the front row of the crowd.

"The cool part of our job is making a kid's day," Kuchar said. "And we have an opportunity to do that quite often. I've got enough hole in one balls.

"It's one of the neat things that we can do. There's nothing like seeing a smile come over a kid's face."

Kuchar's best Masters finish was tied third in 2012.

Scores

# Nat Selected Others Score Hole Today
1 ESP Sergio Garcia -9 18 -3
2 ENG Justin Rose -9 18 -3
3 RSA Charl Schwartzel -6 18 -4
T4 USA Matt Kuchar -5 18 -5
T4 BEL Thomas Pieters -5 18 -4
6 ENG Paul Casey -4 18 -4
T7 USA Kevin Chappell -3 18 -4
T7 NIR Rory McIlroy -3 18 -3
T9 AUS Adam Scott -2 18 1
T9 USA Ryan Moore -2 18 2
T11 USA Rickie Fowler -1 18 4
T11 USA Jordan Spieth -1 18 3
T16 GER Martin Kaymer Par 18 -4
T18 ENG Lee Westwood 1 18 2
T22 AUS Jason Day 2 18 -1

 





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