Thursday 19 July 2018

Garcia claims first title since US Masters

Sergio Garcia. Photo: Getty Images
Sergio Garcia. Photo: Getty Images

Phil Casey

Tournament host Sergio Garcia dedicated his victory in the Andalucia Valderrama Masters to his wife Angela and their unborn child after claiming a sixth victory on home soil.

Masters champion Garcia, who won the last staging of the event in 2011, carded a closing 67 to finish 12-under, a shot ahead of Holland's Joost Luiten, who shot 66.

Shane Lowry finished 11 shots back after a final-round 72 for a share of 12th place, as Pádraig Harrington finished with the same last day score, leaving him on two-over.

"It was amazing," Garcia said after closing the gap on Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood to under 800,000 points and claiming his first title since the Masters in April. "All three of us (in the final group) played amazing.

"Daniel (Brooks) played great with everything he had on the line, trying to keep his card, and Joost played unbelievable. I played really well and felt like maybe I could get away and he just kept coming back and made it an amazing match.

"I stayed patient the whole time, made sure the bad moments didn't affect me too much and made a couple of really key putts coming in.

"I want to dedicate this one to my wife Angela and our little baby coming next year in March - this one is for them."

After seeing his one-shot overnight lead quickly wiped out when Brooks birdied the second, Garcia responded with a birdie on the par-five fourth and ended the front nine in style by using a fairway wood to hole from the fringe for a birdie.

Watched by his wife Angela and father Victor, Garcia then holed from 10 feet for birdie on the 10th and three feet on the next to move three clear, only to bogey the 12th after failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker.

The gap was down to one when Luiten birdied the 13th and another birdie on the 15th drew the Dutchman level, only for the five-time European Tour winner to three-putt the next.

Both men birdied the par-five 17th and when Luiten's birdie attempt on the last caught the edge of the hole and stayed out, Garcia - who was awarded honorary life membership of the European Tour on Saturday - had the luxury of two-putting from close range to claim a third win of the season.

Irish Independent

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