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Rose, Garcia Tied for Lead at Masters in Prelude to Finale

12 April 2017

"It's an unbelievable feeling to be part of that group with Seve (Ballesteros) and Jose Maria (Olazabal), my two golfing idols". He overcame a two-shot deficit against Justin Rose and won on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.

Victory sees Garcia become the third Spanish victor of the Green Jacket, following on from Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal, with the 37-year-old delighted to finally win a major.

"Anything can happen on Sunday at Augusta", Day said.

Garcia, who has been plagued by self doubt when it came to majors, once said he did not have what it takes to be a major champion but demonstrated on Sunday during an enthralling rollercoaster battle with Rose that he does indeed possess the tools, demeanor and determination of a champion. That was nearly 20 years ago. 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".

But to Garcia's massive credit, he fought back in thrilling fashion.

Garcia's win at the Masters was his 18th appearance at the tournament. "Even after making a couple of bogeys, I was still very positive".

"It's been an fantastic week", Garcia said, "and I'm going to enjoy it for the rest of my life". Bogeying the last three holes didn't help. And Im so happy.”.

That set him up for a good finish, including making an eagle on the 15 hole that tied him with Justin Rose.

Rose led by one stroke after a birdie on No. 16, but relinquished that lead on No. 17 with a bogey, setting up the dramatic finish.

Just three years ago at the British Open, Garcia was in the hunt before a bogey at the par-3 15th dropped him three back and he eventually was second to victor Rory McIlroy. His second shot hit the flag stick and settled a decent ways from the pin. He drilled a 5-iron into 30 feet and narrowly missed the eagle putt.

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The one thing everyone else focused on were his sad-sack results in golf's big events until that last putt rattled at the bottom of the cup: 0 for 70 in his pro career.

This one hurt, not just because he held the lead so late - he had a one shot cushion walking into the final three holes - but because of who he lost to. Hematched his worst score at Augusta (Day had 76 in the first round in 2012 and withdrew after seven holes in the second roundwith an ankle injury), and it was two strokes higher than his previous worst 36-hole score in the Masters.

But in the early going, when the safe bet was that Garcia would crumple in the moment, he instead played like the guy with the least to prove.

Rose would birdie the hole, while Garcia missed his birdie putt.

But while the other contenders faded, it was Garcias playing partner that put on the heat.

Rose was two shots ahead when Garcia bogeyed the 10th and 11th, but on what would have been the 60th birthday of Seve Ballesteros, his fellow Spaniard Garcia crucially saved par after an errant drive and penalty shot on the 13th.

"After what happened at the start of the back nine for Sergio I thought 'Oh no, here it goes again".

At even par, world No.9 Scott is the leading Australian in a tie for 10th.

"I just couldn't do anything else with that shot (in the play-off)".