Monkey off, green jacket on Garcia’s back

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) – Sergio Garcia is no longer in the conversation of outstanding golfers to never win a major. Not after he slipped his arms into a green jacket on Sunday.

Garcia has won the Masters in comeback fashion, beating Justin Rose in a sudden-death playoff. The 37-year-old Spaniard trailed Rose by two shots with six holes remaining before ending his two decades of close calls and major meltdowns in major tournaments.

Rose sent his first playoff drive into the trees on 18 and managed to punch out before failing to sink a 15-foot par putt. That opened the door for Garcia to win the title by two-putting from 12 feet out. Garcia wasted no time wrapping up the Masters, sinking a birdie putt before crouching in disbelief while hearing chants of “Ser-gee-oh! Ser-gee-oh!” from the gallery. Rose patted his opponent on the cheek before they embraced.

Garcia and Rose began the final round tied for the lead before carding 3-under 69s to finish at minus-9. Garcia’s birdie putt made him the third Spaniard to don a green jacket, joining the late Seve Ballesteros (SHE’-vee by-eh-STEHR’-ohs) and Jose Maria Olazabal (oh-lah-THAH’-bul).

Charl Schwartzel closed with his second straight 68 to finish third at 6 under, one shot ahead of Matt Kuchar (KOO’-chur) and second-round co-leader Thomas Pieters. Paul Casey’s 4-under total was one better than Rory McIlroy and Kevin Chappell.

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