The Latest: Hot Steele early in Masters final round
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) The Latest on the final round of the Masters on Sunday (all times local):
Sergio Garcia has won the first major championship of his career with a dramatic, sudden-death victory over Justin Rose at the Masters.
Garcia finally broke through in his 71st major as a professional, and nearly 18 years after he was runner-up to Tiger Woods in a breakthrough performance in the PGA Championship.
After missing a 5-foot birdie at the 72nd hole, Garcia had to get through one extra hole to finally remove the stigma of being considered the best player never to win one of golf's biggest events.
It was worth the wait.
Playing the 18th hole again, Rose got in trouble with an errant tee shot, forcing him to punch out from behind a giant magnolia tree. He missed a 14-foot par-saving putt that would've put some pressure on the Spaniard.
It didn't matter. Garcia curled in a 12-foot birdie that gave him the green jacket.
The Masters is headed to a sudden-death playoff between Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose.
Rose missed a 7-footer for birdie at the 18th hole, giving Garcia a chance to win the first major championship of his career from just 5 feet away.
His birdie putt missed, too.
Now, they're headed back to the 18th tee box for the first playoff hole, tied at 9-under 279.
Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose are tied for the lead heading to the 72nd hole of the Masters.
Rose gave up the advantage when he failed to get up and down from a bunker in front of the 17th green, settling for a bogey that dropped his score to 9 under.
Garcia is also at 9 under after a par on the next-to-last hole.
Back and forth they go at Augusta National.
Justin Rose reclaimed the Masters lead at the 16th hole with a brilliant tee shot, which set up an 8-foot birdie putt that pushed his score to 10 under.
Sergio Garcia's tee shot was even closer, curling back toward the pond before stopping 6 feet away. But the Spaniard pulled the putt, settling for a par that left him one stroke behind with two holes remaining.
Rose is seeking his second major title, having won the U.S. Open in 2013. Garcia has never captured one of golf's biggest events.
Sergio Garcia has rallied to tie Justin Rose for the lead with three holes remaining at the Masters.
In a stunning turn of events, Garcia birdied the 14th hole and followed with an eagle at the par-5 15th after his approach shot caught the flagstick and stopped 15 feet away. The putt barely trickled into the cup for his first eagle at Augusta National in 452 holes.
Rose managed to make a birdie, but it wasn't enough to keep the lead. The two players in the final group are both 3 under for the day and 9 under overall, setting up a magnificent finish at the Masters.
Garcia is going for the first major title of his career.
Rose is the 2013 U.S. Open champion and an Olympic gold medalist.
Justin Rose has a two-shot lead with five holes to play at the Masters.
But Sergio Garcia caught a big break at the 13th after pulling his tee shot into an azalea bush left of the fairway. He had to take a one-stroke penalty for an unplayable shot, but he still managed to salvage par.
Playing with Garcia in the final group, Rose had a 6-footer for birdie that would've given him a three-shot lead. But the putt slid left of the cup, giving Garcia a reprieve as they headed to the 14th.
Matt Kuchar is in the clubhouse with a 67, leaving him three shots behind at 5 under. Thomas Pieters and Charl Schwartzel are also at 5 under.
Matt Kuchar has made a hole-in-one at the 16th hole to give himself an improbable shot at his first major title.
Kuchar sent the crowd into a frenzy when he aced a 7-iron at the 170-yard hole Sunday, the ball landing on the green and curling back toward the pond before dropping in the cup.
The patrons chanted ''Kooch!'' as the popular golfer walked toward the green. He retrieved the ball, signed it and gave it to a young boy along the ropes.
Kuchar is now at 5 under, three strokes behind Justin Rose.
Sergio Garcia dropped one stroke behind the leader with a bogey at the 10th.
Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose are making the turn at the Masters right where they began the day: tied for the lead.
Garcia pulled three shots ahead Sunday with two early birdies and a bogey by Rose at the fifth.
But Rose started a run of three straight birdies at the sixth to quickly erase the deficit. Garcia had a chance to stay ahead but missed a 6-foot birdie try at No. 8.
Rickie Fowler is three shots behind, while Charl Schwartzel is another stroke back.
Jordan Spieth has faded from contention. The 2015 Master champion is 3 over through 10 holes and a daunting seven shots behind.
Sergio Garcia has made two early birdies in the final round of the Masters, a promising start in the Spaniard's bid to capture his first major championship.
He rolled in a 5-foot putt at the first hole, breaking a tie for the lead with England's Justin Rose. Garcia stretched the margin to two strokes with another birdie at the third, driving the ball just short to the green, pulling off a delicate chip and knocking in an 8-footer.
Garcia squandered a booming drive at the par-5 second, where he dumped his approach in a bunker and missed a 5-foot putt. But he's three shots ahead of Rickie Fowler, four clear of Charley Hoffman and five up on Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott and Paul Casey.
The final group has teed off at Augusta National.
Justin Rose of England and Sergio Garcia of Spain are tied for the top spot at 6 under.
Rose won the U.S. Open in 2013 and captured the Olympic gold medal in Brazil last summer. Garcia is a longtime star but still seeking his first major championship.
It figures to be quite a Sunday shootout at the Masters.
The next-to-last pairing includes Rickie Fowler and 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth. Fowler is one shot off the lead, while Spieth is part of a group at 4 under.
Ernie Els may have hit his final shot at the Masters.
If so, the Big Easy hardly went out with a flourish.
Playing with a marker in the first group, Els posted a 6-over 78 Sunday and will likely finish with the highest score of anyone making the cut at 20 over.
On Saturday, the South African struggled to an 83 - his worst score ever at Augusta National.
This is the final year of automatic eligibility for the 47-year-old Els, and given his age and state of his game, he knows it will be tough to earn his way back.
''You can put a line on it and say most probably it will be the last one,'' Els said before the tournament started. ''We'll see, unless we do something down the road. But you know, it's been good. Whatever. If I come back again, great. If I don't, it's been good.''
Els has played the Masters 23 times. He was twice a runner-up but missed the cut five of the last 10 years.
Brendan Steele had the hottest start at the Masters on Sunday. It won't get him into the mix for a green jacket, but it should make him feel a bit better about his week.
Steele opened with three straight birdies and added a fourth on the seventh hole to improve to 2 over about two hours into the final round. He's still eight shots behind co-leaders Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia at 6-under. Rickie Fowler is one shot off the lead.
Rose and Garcia, friends and European Ryder Cup teammates, tee off in just less than two hours.
Rose is seeking his second career major title while Garcia is chasing his first.
Justin Rose sounded more like a golf fan planning out his Sunday TV schedule than a co-leader at the Masters prepping for the final round.
There's Jordan Spieth, who ''obviously has a special relationship the Masters,'' Rose said.
And Rickie Fowler, who will ''be all up for it tomorrow.''
And his Ryder Cup teammate Sergio Garcia, who will ''have a great opportunity.''
He summed up his rundown saying, ''There's wonderful storylines.''
Garcia and Fowler will be seeking their first major wins. But perhaps the best comeback of this tournament belongs to Spieth.
The 2015 Masters champion was all but gone after a frustrating, quadruple bogey nine on the 15th hole in Thursday's opening round. Spieth, though, started clawing back with a birdie on No. 16 to reframe his focus and, although he was 10 shots down he's just two back heading into the final round.
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