WINDSOR, Calif. (AP) — South Korea’s Hyemin Kim won the rain-shortened POC Med Golf Classic on Sunday for her first Symetra Tour title, closing with a 2-under 67 for a two-stroke victory in the first-year event.
To get an autographed, hole-in-one ball handed to you at the Masters sounds like a golf fan’s dream. Matt Kuchar made an entire family’s dream come true. Kuchar gave the ball he used to ace the par-3 16th hole on Sunday to 10-year-old Owen Lockaby of Bradenton, Florida, who comes from a family of Masters fans.
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Nate Thompson scored his first goal of the season to tie it with 8:26 to play and Shea Theodore won it in overtime, helping the Anaheim Ducks clinch their fifth consecutive Pacific Division title with a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night. Theodore scored on a breakaway to end the Freeway Faceoff, but the Ducks (46-23-13) had already locked up a first-round playoff date with the Calgary Flames by earning a point in their 14th consecutive game down the stretch (11-0-3). Patrick Eaves and Antoine Vermette also scored and Jonathan Bernier stopped 15 shots as the Ducks held off Edmonton for the top spot in the Pacific.
AUGUSTA, Ga. – He said he would never win one. They said he was probably right. He said the golf gods were against him, that bad luck – and not just bad shots – were his undoing. They said he lacked intestinal fortitude. That his natural shot-making ability would put him in contention but when faced with adversity, he would sulk and compound the problem. They said his window of opportunity was closing, that a bevy of younger stars were filling what once was his domain. He said his life would be no different, that crossing his name off some best-to-never-win list would not define his happiness. But in his heart, the fire always burned. For more than a decade, this conversation took place. But now it’s over, replaced by adoring fans shouting his name. Sergio Garcia has won a major. On Sunday, he won the Masters. “Been a long time coming,” he said while slipping on the green jacket at Butler Cabin, having defeated good friend Justin Rose on the first playoff hole after their match play-type battle on the back nine at Augusta National. It was not his first time inside Butler Cabin. In 1999, he was low amateur, which meant he joined the post-tournament ceremony with one of his idols, fellow Spaniard Jose Maria OIazabal. It was Olazabal’s second Masters win, and Garcia walked away thinking he would one day claim his own green jacket. But things changed. Garcia began feeling uncomfortable on a course that doesn’t favor his style of play. He hits fades. Augusta National demands draws. Only twice in his first 18 starts did he start the final round inside the top 10. His appearances were mostly exercises in futility. Five years ago, it boiled over. He told Spanish reporters it would never happen for him. Not only would he not win the Masters – he said he’d never win a major. Then a funny thing happened to Sergio. The self-described “goofy guy” who can be “hard-headed” stopped fighting and started accepting. He stopped blaming others and started seeking solutions. The petulant man became a peaceful one. “I accepted what Augusta gives and takes,” he said. “And I think because of that, I’m able to stand here today.” At no point was that more evident than after consecutive bogeys left him two shots behind playing partner Rose going to the 12th hole. The perfect opportunity for Garcia to unravel had now presented itself. His former self would’ve fallen for the trap. But not this time. He equaled Rose’s par at 12, then passed the acid test at the par-5 13th with an escape of Ballesteros-like proportions. Finding trouble off the tee, his ball landing under an azelea bush, Garcia had to take a penalty. Yet he still managed par … and then breathed a sigh of relief when Rose failed to convert his 5-foot birdie opportunity. With new life, Garcia birdied the 14th and eagled the 15th to join Rose as co-leader. By not giving in to negative demons, Garcia’s faith in himself had been rewarded. “Demonstration of my character and my mentality,” Garcia called it. “How positive I stayed even when things weren’t going that well on 10 and 11.” Garcia held strong as the golf gods kept testing him. Rose birdied 16 but gave it right back with a bogey at 17. Rose’s approach at 18 drifted right but hit a mound and bounded straight toward the hole, a terrific break. Garcia followed by hitting it stiff. Both players missed their birdie tries, sending it to a sudden-death playoff. Rose flinched first, his drive finding the pine needles on the right and landing behind a tree. All he could do was punch out. Garcia then followed with the knockout blow, his approach setting up what would be a two-putt par to win. Garcia needed only one of those strokes. “A wonderful battle,” said the disappointed Rose. “If I had anybody to lose to, it would be Sergio. He’s had his fair share of heartbreaks.” If I had anybody to lose to, it would be Sergio. He’s had his fair share of heartbreaks. It was followed by an equally wonderful scene, as patrons chanted, ‘SERGIO! SERGIO!’ For many American golf fans, particularly at Ryder Cups, Garcia has been atop the villain list. His passion for the event – and his stellar performances as one of Europe’s ringleaders – often has him wearing a target. Not this time. Not for the player who has knocked on the door 73 previous times in majors. No pro had ever made more starts before winning his first major. That’s the kind of persistence Augusta National galleries can appreciate. “Often he feels like he’s not supported the way he would like to be here in America,” Rose said. “It was encouraging to see the crowd get behind him. I think they realized he paid his dues.” Perhaps we should’ve seen this coming. After all, the stars lined up for him this week. On Wednesday, Olazabal sent him a message of inspiration. He also mentioned he was not sharing his champion’s locker at Augusta National with anybody. “I hope that I get to do it with you,” Olazabal told Garcia. Garcia’s other idol, Seve Ballesteros, would’ve turned 60 on Sunday. Garcia felt the presence of the two-time Masters winner — who died in 2011 of brain cancer — several times this week. It was a calming influence; in fact, Garcia said he never felt so calm on a major Sunday. Then in July, the 37-year-old Garcia will be married to his Austin, Texas-based fiancée, Angela Akins. This week, she left notes of inspiration and love on the mirror at their rental place. Don’t underestimate the importance of his happy home life. It seems to have spilled over to his game. “I have a beautiful life,” Garcia said. “Major or no major, I’ve said it many, many times. I have an amazing life.” And now he has a green jacket. The hole in his resume has been filled. The question of whether he’s major-worthy has been answered. Of course, there’s a new conversation now. “I don’t know if I’ll be the best player to have only won one major,” he said with a chuckle. “But I can live with that.”
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By Rory Carroll AUGUSTA, Georgia (Officialsportsbetting.com) – Two former U.S. Masters champions saw their fortunes diverge on Sunday as 2011 winner Charl Schwartzel rallied to finish third while 2013 victor Adam Scott slipped to a tie for ninth. South African Schwartzel, 32, said he was proud of his Sunday performance as he reeled off six birdies to just two bogeys, but said he was ultimately too far behind to catch champion Sergio Garcia and runner-up Justin Rose. “Sergio and Justin, they’re really playing well now,” Schwartzel told reporters after a final-round 68 left him three strokes behind Garcia and Rose, who decided the title in a sudden-death playoff.
Two former U.S. Masters champions saw their fortunes diverge on Sunday as 2011 winner Charl Schwartzel rallied to finish third while 2013 victor Adam Scott slipped to a tie for ninth. South African Schwartzel, 32, said he was proud of his Sunday performance as he reeled off six birdies to just two bogeys, but said he was ultimately too far behind to catch champion Sergio Garcia and runner-up Justin Rose. “Sergio and Justin, they’re really playing well now,” Schwartzel told reporters after a final-round 68 left him three strokes behind Garcia and Rose, who decided the title in a sudden-death playoff.
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AUGUSTA, Ga. – News and notes from Sunday’s final round of the Masters where Sergio Garcia prevailed in an epic dual with Justin Rose to win his first major title in what was his 74th major championship. Garcia claimed the green jacket with a birdie on the first sudden-death playoff hole at Augusta National after the pair went back-and-forth throughout a wild Sunday. Click here for a full recap. AZALEA A THORN FOR ROSE, SWING HOLE FOR SERGIO The par-5 13th hole at Augusta National is called Azalea for the beautiful flowers that are iconic on the property, and it appeared it would be the hole to lock things up for the aptly named Rose. Instead it was the scene of the momentum shifting away from Rose and back to Garcia. Up by two shots at the time, Rose looked in great shape in the fairway after a nice drive – particularly as Garcia had attempted a bold line over the trees and instead ended up in an unplayable lie. A penalty drop in the pine straw followed, and Garcia had to lay up from there. Rose meanwhile lined up his second shot from 186 yards out and let it rip. “I hit a really good iron shot into 13. I was playing for a little backstop behind the hole, hit a great shot and unfortunately it carried too far and set up a tough two-putt,” Rose said. Indeed, the shot soared just a little far and rested on the back fringe. The lightning-quick lag putt for eagle was a good one, leaving a 6-foot birdie try back up the hill. Sergio’s fourth was good enough to leave 8 feet for par. He made it. “That par save there was big,” Garcia admitted. Rose then missed. He still led by two. But Garcia had life. And momentum. Two holes later he was tied for the lead. “That little two-shot swing there was kind of when he was back in the tournament,” Rose admitted. “I feel like if he misses at that point, I make, I’m four clear and I’ve got my eye on Thomas Pieters and Matt Kuchar instead.” SURPRISE FADE OUT The biggest surprise on Masters Sunday was not Garcia’s fightback after adversity – it was the fact the penultimate pairing of Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler were never really in the mix. Fowler started Sunday just a shot off the lead and Spieth was two back. Fowler led the field in strokes gained: putting coming into Sunday. Spieth had clawed back despite a quadruple-bogey nine on Thursday. His record read 2-1-2 in his previous three Masters. Fowler birdied the third hole to move onto the periphery of the challenge, but he followed it up with back-to-back bogeys and was pushing uphill from then on. At the end of the day he blew out with a back-nine 40 to finish T11. Spieth began bogey-birdie-bogey and turned in 2-over 38 to stand well back. A bogey on 10 followed before – a year after his famous quadruple-bogey 7 at the par-3 12th – the Texan rinsed another tee shot at the iconic hole. The double bogey and another bogey on 14 had him balloon to 4 over for the tournament. Three late birdies returned some respectability to his card. “I wasn’t doing much wrong. And that’s what was so tough. I didn’t feel like I was doing much wrong and I just look up and it just wasn’t landing where I thought it would,” Spieth said. “I feel bad I went so downhill while Rickie was still in it there, because it is tough when you don’t see a ball go in the hole. “And when I was out of it, I was his biggest cheerleader, just being really good friends with Rickie, and it was tough. I don’t think I helped him whatsoever on the round. And I felt like if I was able to hang in there and we were able to feed off each other, then we would have been able to push through like you saw Sergio and Justin able to do. “We could have definitely done that today. We’re both capable of it, the stage wasn’t too big … it just didn’t quite happen.” ROSE CONFIDENT OF RETURN RUN It is no doubt a bitter pill to swallow for runner-up Justin Rose, who led by two shots with five holes to play and one with two to play before Garcia fought back. But the 2013 U.S. Open winner, who has now been the runner-up at Augusta National twice in the last three years, was trying to remain as upbeat as possible. “Before I won at Merion, (I said), ‘You’re going to win majors and you’re going to lose majors, but you’ve got to be willing to lose them,’” he said. “You’ve got to put yourself out there. You’ve got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There’s a lot of pressure out there and if you’re not willing to enjoy it, then you’re not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there. “It’s going to sting for sure. But I really feel like this is a tournament that I can still go on to win. I’d like to win three or four green jackets, but one would be enough. I just want to win here.” The 36-year-old Englishman was already looking to use the positives moving forward as he heads towards THE PLAYERS Championship, further majors and the race for the FedExCup. “For me, golf is about April to September. That’s where the big tournaments are. That’s where the tournaments that change your career are,” he said. “I feel motivated for the summer, and I will be moving on and setting goals very quickly after this.” IN AND OUT Masters berths can be hard to come by for many players, and Sunday’s final round saw a handful of players cement a 2018 invitation for finishing inside the top 12 – while some others let their first chance to return slip away. While the likes of Justin Rose (second), Rory McIlroy (T7), Hideki Matsuyama (T11) and Rickie Fowler (T11) would almost certainly get invites through other methods, and former champions Jordan Spieth (T11), Adam Scott (T9) and Charl Schwartzel (third) are in for life, others also stepped up to secure starts. Matt Kuchar (T4) will get to return for a 12th time, Thomas Pieters’ (T4) Masters debut was a beauty and he will be coming back, and Paul Casey (sixth) made it a third top-10 at Augusta National in a row. Kevin Chappell (T7) had returned for his second Masters (2012) this year and will now get a third, and Ryan Moore (T9) will get to double digits with a 10th Masters start next year. Brooks Koepka (T11) will now make it four Masters in a row next year and Russell Henley will not need to rely on a last-minute win at the Shell Houston Open – like he did this year – after his T11 result. Trying to go back-to-back can be tiring. “Had my best finish here. I’m excited,” Henley beamed. “I’m definitely very hyped up to be here at Augusta, but winning the tournament, being in contention, takes a lot out of me. And I might be a little tired. “But overall a great week and excited to move forward.” It was a rough day for Lee Westwood (T18), William McGirt (T22) and Charley Hoffman (T22) who all shot over-par rounds to drop out of the invite bracket. GEE WHIZ, AN ACE Outside of Sergio Garcia, you might be hard-pressed to find a happier person than a young fan behind the 16th green on Sunday at Augusta National who was the beneficiary of a signed ball from Matt Kuchar. Now, signed balls are not all that uncommon – but balls that were used to make an ace on Sunday at No. 16 in the Masters … well, that’s another story. Kuchar certainly gave us a sense of what could happen on the back nine with a blistering 31 that included an ace on the par-3 16th with his 7-iron. With three birdies, a par and the eagle ace, Kuchar’s scorecard had a 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 on it in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12 to 16. The round of 5-under 67 helped him post the early clubhouse mark at 5 under and eventually saw him finish T4, his fourth top 10 at the Masters and best finish since a career-best T3 in 2012. “What a thrill. It’s funny, that hole has given me problems in the past. I said, ‘This year, go ahead and release it, don’t worry about the water,’ and I just flushed a shot that went straight at it and it looked great the whole way,” Kuchar said. “The cool part of our job is making a kid’s day. And we have an opportunity to do that quite often. I figured this would make a kid’s day and make a kid’s year. I think you see kids of a certain age and you know that a memento will be special to them.” Expect a rush on Sam Snead hats from the youngsters before next year’s Masters, as Kuchar admitted the iconic headwear helped highlight the lucky patron. ODDS AND ENDS The eventual Masters champion has come out of the final Sunday pairing in 22 out of the last 27 years, with Zach Johnson (2007), Charl Schwartzel (2011), Bubba Watson (2012), Adam Scott (2013) and Danny Willett (2016) the exceptions. Hideki Matsuyama clawed within 82 points on Dustin Johnson’s lead atop the FedExCup standings. Sergio Garcia moved to 12th, and Justin Rose to moved to ninth. Adam Scott, the 2013 champ, will be hoping to lift his putting next time he returns to Augusta National. He finished seven shots off the playoff, having missed five putts inside 5 feet and nine putts from 5 to 10 feet. Stewart Hagestad claimed low amateur honors and a trip to Butler Cabin for the Silver Medal with his 74-73-74-73 performance leaving him at 6 over. Impressively, the U.S. Mid-Amateur champion kept his card clear of double bogeys or worse the entire tournament. He beat out U.S. Amateur and Asia-Pacific Amateur champion Curtis Luck, who shot 78-72-75-72 to finish at 9 over. BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA