Spanish master

The golfing world paid tribute to one of the most popular players in the world as he claimed a maiden major title at The Masters.

On what would have been the 60th birthday of his idol Seve Ballesteros, Sergio Garcia saw off Englishman Justin Rose on a dramatic Sunday at Augusta National to win his fist major championship.

Yorkshireman Danny Willett handed over the green jacket to Garcia, who said: “When I first came here as an amateur in 1999, I felt like this course was probably going to give me at least one major. I’m not going to lie, that thought kind of changed through the years, because I started feeling uncomfortable here.

“I came to peace with it the last three or four years and I accepted what Augusta gives and takes. I think because of that I’m able to stand here today. It never felt like a horror movie. A little bit of a drama maybe, but now with a happy ending.

“Seve did come into my mind today,” he added. “I’m sure he helped a little bit with some of those shots and some of those putts.

“To do it on Seve’s 60th birthday and to join him and Olazabal, my two idols in golf my whole life, it’s something amazing.”

Rose, who came within inches of a second major title, said: “Lots of good things happened today. It was a wonderful battle and if there is anyone you want to lose to it’s Sergio. He deserves it, he’s had his fair share of heartache.”

Meanwhile, Northern representatives had a mixed opening major of 2017.

Lee Westwood remains the longest-standing active player on either the PGA or European Tour without a major to his name having now started 75 majors. His 18th place finish at one over-par was two shots better than Sheffield’s Matt Fitzpatrick, while defending champion Willett missed the cut on his return to Augusta National.