The Masters: Sergio wins his first major
Vamos! Vamos! After four days of great golf at Augusta National Golf Club, Sergio Garcia defeated Englishman Justin Rose in a playoff to win his first major championship. After 73 majors without a major championship, Garcia finally won. There was full blown drama in Augusta with some of the biggest names in golf high on the leaderboard. Americans Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler were in contention heading into the final round Sunday, but they struggled the whole day, each finishing -1 for the tournament, 8 strokes behind the leaders. Here’s a look at the biggest winners and losers of the 81st Masters Tournament.
Garcia was by far the biggest winner as the week ended with a green jacket for the Spaniard. Tied for the lead at -6 going into Sunday, Garcia started out hot, birdying 2 of of his first 3 holes. Then he started to sputter going into the back 9 with bogeys at 10 and 11 with almost near disaster on 13 when his tee shot ended up in a bush. He saved par and the momentum started to change. After parring 14 and being 1 stroke behind leader and playing partner Justin Rose, Garcia stiffed an 8 iron into the par 5 15th hole ended up with an eagle 3 and tied for the lead, which is where they stood after 18 holes. A playoff was underway. Garcia split the fairway with his drive while Rose hit it into the trees. Rose was on the green in 3 and Garcia in 2. With Rose missing his par putt, Garcia aka El Niño needed just 2 putts to become the Masters Champion. He only needed one as he birdied the playoff hole and sealed his first major victory at the age of 37.
The highest finishing American in the field, Kuchar had a great final round, shooting a final round’s best score of 67 (-5). Along with finishing T-4, Kuchar had the shot of the tournament on Sunday with the 19th hole in one in Masters history on the 16th hole. After Kuchar drained the shot, he spotted a young fan and gave the ball to him. What a nice gesture by the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist.
After a rough early part of the week with inclement weather and high winds in the first two rounds, Augusta still had some great moments that many will remember. What a great job by the grounds crew at the club to keep the the course in great shape.
After starting hot on the first few days of competition, the third round in Saturday was a rough one for Phil. After Mickelson birdied the first two holes to get within one stroke of the lead, things took a turn for the worse with a double bogey on 3. Mickelson ended his Saturday with a +2 74, 8 shots behind the leaders and would never be seen again. The three time Masters winner hasn’t won since the 2013 Open Championship and has struggled in form.
Coming into Augusta as the favorite and winner of his last three events on tour, DJ had his eyes set on a his first green jacket. This mindset suddenly changed Wednesday night before round one when he slipped and fell in his rental house in Augusta, hurting his back and in the end forcing him to withdraw from the tournament. Johnson tried to play and arrived at the first tee before his tee time but then in the end withdrew because of his back. Hopefully the 2016 U.S. Open champion can get back on his feet and make a speedy recovery to defend his title this June in Charlotte.