Sergio Garcia has finally won his first major title after taking home the 2017 Masters championship on Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club.
The Spanish star was tied with Justin Rose after 72 holes at nine strokes under par, forcing a sudden-death playoff. After Rose bogeyed the 19th hole of the day, Garcia birdied to end what had become a trend of disappointments in golf's biggest events.
PGA Tour shared video of the final putt:
Justin Ray of Golf Channel noted why this was a long time coming:
Charl Schwartzel finished strong to put himself alone in third place at six under for the tournament.
Here are the final results from Sunday:
It was effectively a two-man race for most of the day, with Rose and Garcia in the final pairing pulling away from the field early.
Garcia built a three-stroke lead after earning birdies on two of the first three holes, followed by a Rose bogey on the fifth. Of course, it was still way too early to start crowning anyone.
Rose forced himself back into the competition with three straight birdies on sixth, seventh and eighth holes. Jason Sobel of ESPN.com broke down the action:
Although Garcia was bogey-free through the front nine, his history of collapses came to the forefront with bogeys on the next two holes.
When the Spaniard put his ball in the woods on No. 13, virtually everyone seemed to think the tournament was over. However, he bounced back to earn a par on the hole, while Rose missed a makeable birdie putt and settled for a par as well.
Trey Wingo of ESPN summed up the swing:
The momentum shifted from there, as Garcia birdied the ensuing hole and a had dramatic eagle on No. 15 to earn a tie:
The two men went into the 18th hole deadlocked, but each missed a birdie putt that would've won the tournament.
Zach Johnson, who missed the cut this week, gave his analysis on the shots:
The playoff was decided before the green, however, with a poor tee shot dooming Rose. He ended with a bogey, giving Garcia the chance to win with a par. Garcia holed his birdie putt just for good measure.
Notable stars congratulated the veteran after coming through with the win:
Matt Kuchar remained competitive thanks to an incredible performance on the back nine. He posted three straight birdies and then turned heads with a hole-in-one on No. 16:
He finished with a 31 on the last nine holes and 67 overall for the day, putting him at five under for the tournament. Being the first among the leaders into the clubhouse also set a respectable mark for the top players to match.
Thomas Pieters followed it up with a five-under finish of his own, featuring four straight birdies on the back nine.
Meanwhile, Schwartzel continued the trend with four birdies after the turn to finish in third place.
Even those not on the leaderboard came away with memorable moments, including Russell Henley with this eagle on No. 5:
This helped him finish with a 69 in his final round, good enough for a surprising tie for 11th place.
Rory McIlroy quietly finished tied for seventh after coming into the day at even par. He managed four birdies and just a single bogey to end up three strokes under par.
On the other hand, the final round wasn't quite as good for Jordan Spieth. The 2015 Masters champion had stormed back from a 75 in Round 1 to contention with back-to-back rounds in the 60s, but he fell apart Sunday with a final-round score of 75.
He ended up tied for 11th place along with Rickie Fowler, who posted a 76 in the same pairing.
Still, this tournament was about Garcia, who survived an exciting battle to win the first major of the year.
Many of these players will move to Hilton Head, South Carolina, next week for the RBC Heritage. The Players Championship will bring a lot of big international names back to the United States in May, while the next major will be the U.S. Open on June 15.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the win was the ability to stay mentally tough despite adversity.
"Today, I felt the calmest I’ve ever felt on a major Sunday," Garcia said after the round, per Sobel. "Even after a couple of bogeys, I was still positive. I still believed."
The eventual winner also discussed the back-and-forth battle between Rose and him.
"We are good friends. We wanted to win," he explained, per My Golf Daily's Ron Mintz. "We wanted to beat each other, but we did not want one of us to lose it."
The friendly mindset was shared by Rose even after his disappointing defeat.
"If there's anyone to lose to it's Sergio," the runner-up told CBS, per Brian Wacker of Golf Digest. "He's had his share of heartbreak."
After so many close calls, Garcia will finally get a chance to celebrate a win in the biggest tournament of the year.