Garcia dedicates magical Masters win to childhood idol

He birdied there from 8 feet, while Garcia's 5-footer to match didn't touch the hole, for a one-stroke lead.

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

Garcia clearly took those words to heart, most notably in the final round when on several occasions it looked like the wheels were about to fall off and another major title was about to slip through his grasp. Spieth struggled to a 3-over 75 that would've been much worse without three birdies in his final four holes.

"I struck the ball, obviously, the first hole was a birdie hole and I did a great job of hitting that fairway 90 percent of the time I play this place", Spieth said.

They were on level terms two holes later after Garcia nearly made an albatross at the par-five 15th, his eight-iron second landing inches short of the hole before brushing the pin and trickling 14 feet away, from where he made his eagle putt. "I think we've always known that Sergio is an emotional kind of guy on and off the golf course, and when it's all clicking, he's one of the best in the world". Rose missed a birdie putt from a shorter distance.

"I knew I needed to make that putt to stay in it", Garcia said of his par-save at 13.

"I still have 20 or so left that I feel really primed and ready for".

In the end, it wasn't enough. "If there was anyone to lose to it would be Sergio". "He's had his share of heartbreak".

Indeed, Rose seemed genuinely happy for a player he considers both a rival and a friend. Errant shots on the tenth and eleventh holes led to bogeys, and, after his tee shot on the par-five thirteenth lodged itself at the base of one of Augusta's famous azalea bushes, forcing him to take a penalty, the scene had a familiar look.

He had a shot, hitting his approach to about 14 feet.

Rose, who also closed with a 69, graciously patted Garcia's cheek before they embraced. It was the 37-year-old's first Masters win. "Of course I could", said Rose. "I would have liked to be on the right part of it".

Rose and Garcia started out tied for the lead. Rose might have seized on any of these mistakes to take the day.

At that point, it was apparent this would be a two-man race.

The Spaniard and Englishman began the final round sharing top spot on the leaderboard, with American young guns Rickie Fowler and 2015 victor Jordan Spieth in hot pursuit.

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He hit wedge to 7 feet and escaped with par.

"That was a two-shot swing", Rose said. Rose missed a 6-footer for birdie. Beset by these seemingly involuntary waggles, as they were known, Garcia appeared fussy and nervous.

"It's going to sting for sure", he said.

Sergio Garcia played in 73 major golf tournaments without a victory.

Garcia birdied the 18th hole, minutes after seeing a shorter birdie try on the same green stay right of the cup, to beat Justin Rose on the first playoff hole of the 81st Masters, the 37-year-old's first major championship after almost two decades of questions of if he'd ever win one.

"It's awesome. To do it on his 60th birthday and to join him and Olazabal, my two idols in golf my whole life, it's something unbelievable", Garcia said as he was presented with a famous green jacket by 2016 champion Danny Willett in Butler Cabin.

Coming so close on Sunday at Augusta National does not make it any easier - although Rose handled the aftermath of his playoff loss to Sergio Garcia at the Masters with class and grace, and he spoke of having many more chances.