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Finally! Spain hails favourite golfer Sergio Garcia

Spain paid homage to new Masters champion Sergio Garcia on Monday after he broke his duck on the biggest stage of all to add a first major to his glittering career.

Finally! Spain hails favourite golfer Sergio Garcia
ergio Garcia of Spain celebrates after winning in Augusta, Georgia. Photo: AFP

“Finally!” blared the headline in Madrid sports daily Marca as for once the football stars of Real Madrid were relegated to the inside pages.   

“Sergio Garcia wins the Masters in Augusta, the major he has so deserved for the past 18 years.”

Garcia on Sunday became the third Spanish player to wear the famous green jacket after Jose Maria Olazabal and the legendary Seve Ballesteros, who died in 2011, on what would have been Ballesteros's 60th birthday.

“At 37 Sergio broke the curse that lasted nearly two decades since he was second at the USPGA in a battle with Tiger Woods at 19,” Madrid's other sports daily AS said in its online edition.

“Already admired, victory in the 2017 Masters changes the golfing wold's perceptions of the Spanish player,” added El Pais.   

Prior to beating out England's Justin Rose in a sudden-death playoff after a thrilling final round, Garcia had been known for a series of near-misses at major championships.

As well as losing out to Woods in his prime at the USPGA in 1999, Garcia was runner-up at the 2007 and 2014 Open Championships and the 2008 PGA.    

However, he finally delivered by rolling home a birdie putt on the first playoff hole.

Many of Spain's other sporting greats joined in the congratulations.    

“Dear friends, I introduce you to the Master champion in Augusta!! CONGRATULATIONS @TheSergioGarcia,” tweeted Spain's World Cup winning football captain Iker Casillas.

“How great is @TheSergioGarcia, very emotional after so many years fighting so hard! Many congratulations, what joy!” tweeted 14-time tennis Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal.

GOLF

Europe beats United States to reclaim Ryder Cup

Europe regained the Ryder Cup from the USA as star man Francesco Molinari became the first-ever European to win all five of his matches with a 4 and 2 victory over Phil Mickelson on Sunday.

Europe beats United States to reclaim Ryder Cup
Italian golfer Francesco Molinari (C) celebrates Europe's win with English golfer Tommy Fleetwood on the final day of the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National Course at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. Photo:
Ian Poulter's dramatic 2-up win against Dustin Johnson had sent Thomas Bjørn's hosts to a guaranteed 14 points with Henrik Stenson 5-up on Bubba Watson with five to play, before Molinari finished the job.
 
“It's been an incredible week,” said Molinari. “It's been a long week, playing five matches, but you know, again, I 
stepped it up when I had to and you know, that putt on 14 was great. Just amazing.”
 
Jon Rahm had earlier dealt Tiger Woods a fourth loss of the Ryder Cup as Europe weathered an early fightback from the US at Le Golf National.
 
Spanish rookie Rahm won his first Ryder Cup point with a 2 and 1 victory over Woods, the American suffering just his second singles defeat in eight matches in the competition.
 
“To beat Tiger, one of the greatest, if not the greatest, on Sunday, with a pivotal point, I was so aware of it, it's the best feeling of my life,” said the 23-year-old Rahm.
 
Fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia became the leading points-scorer in Ryder Cup history with his 2 and 1 win over 
American Rickie Fowler. The 38-year-old, a controversial wildcard pick by Bjørn after a poor season, passed Nick Faldo's previous mark of 25 points, reaching 25.5 since making his debut in 1999.
 
Rahm's triumph came after Denmark's Thorbjørn Olesen, in the seventh match to tee off, powered to an impressive 5 and 4 win over the in-form Jordan Spieth to quell the US team's momentum.
 
Jim Furyk's men had pulled to within a point after claiming 3.5 points from the first four matches on Sunday, with Justin Thomas defeating Rory McIlroy 1-up in the opening clash.
 
A calamitous 18th hole for McIlroy saw the Northern Irishman find the bunker with his tee shot, as well as the water, as Thomas picked up his fourth point of the competition.
 
Paul Casey and Brooks Koepka halved the second match, while Webb Simpson beat Justin Rose 3 and 2 after carding six birdies to put away the Olympic champion on the Albatros course.
 
Tony Finau romped to a 6 and 4 win over fellow rookie Tommy Fleetwood, denying the Englishman the chance to become the first European to win five points from a possible five at the Ryder Cup.