AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 09: Sergio Garcia of Spain celebrates after defeating Justin Rose (not pictured) of England on the first playoff hole during the final round of the 2017 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 9, 2017 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Ray Cox, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The stars couldn’t have aligned any better for Sergio Garcia’s first major title.
Sunday would have been two-time champ Seve Ballesteros’ 60th birthday. Ballesteros, who died in 2011, took a young Garcia under his wing 20 years ago and some of Garcia’s best golf moments had come with Ballesteros in the Ryder Cup.
In his 71st major as a professional, things looked grim for Garcia when he missed a 5-foot birdie late.
However, Garcia appeared to change momentum with an eagle at No. 15 and took his victory at the Masters on the first extra hole of a playoff against Justin Rose.
The last time a Masters champ had a back-nine eagle on Sunday was Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal in 1994.
Coincidence or foreshadowing? Garcia arrived at Augusta to find that his caddie’s bib number was 89, the same as Danny Willett’s a year ago and the same as Jack Nicklaus’ in his famous 1986 sixth Masters title.
Three times a Spanish golfer has led or been tied for the lead after 54 holes at Augusta National and all three have won.