Friday 18 October 2019

Garcia holds nerve in 'tough moments' to claim KLM spoils

Sergio Garcia lifts the trophy following his victory during Day Four of the KLM Open. Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Sergio Garcia lifts the trophy following his victory during Day Four of the KLM Open. Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Sergio Garcia showed he can still be a Ryder Cup force for skipper Pádraig Harrington when he claimed his 16th European Tour win in the KLM Open in Amsterdam.

The former Masters champion (39) clinched a hard-fought victory at The International, closing with a three-under 69 to edge out rising Danish star Nicolai Højgaard (18) by one stroke on 18-under par.

"I played well all week under pressure," Garcia said after winning €333,330 and overtaking Harrington and Thomas Bjorn for European Tour wins. "It wasn't easy, there were a couple of tough moments today, but I hung on tough."

Garcia joins Seve Ballesteros (three times), Miguel Angel Jimenez, José María Olazábal and Gonzalo Fernandez Castaño on the list of Spanish winners in The Netherlands.

And while it has been a tough year for him in the course, starting with his ignominious disqualification for deliberately damaging several greens during the Saudi International in February, he's set to move to 32nd in the world today.

That means Europe's record points scorer is well-placed to challenge strongly for a tenth Ryder Cup cap when he tees it up in this week's BMW PGA at Wentworth for the start of the qualifying campaign for Harrington's team.

Matt Wallace, who is also expected to challenge for a spot on the plane to Whistling Straits, was third at 15-under with Harrington an encouraging 12th on nine-under after a final round 69.

Paul Dunne birdied the 16th and eagled the 18th to finish 27th on seven-under after a 68, moving up to 101st in the Race to Dubai and onwards to Wentworth with positive feelings.

But it was a forgettable Sunday for Gavin Moynihan, however, as he slipped to 64th after taking 33 putts in a final round 79 that featured three double-bogeys and just one birdie.

On the Challenge Tour, Moynihan's 2015 Walker Cup team-mate Cormac Sharvin had to settle for a share of fifth in the Open de Portugal.

The Ardglass native was one of four players tied for the overnight lead at Morgado Golf Resort. But he never got going, and a level-par 72 left him on 10-under, five strokes behind Adrian Meronk, who became the first Pole to win a Challenge Tour event.

Scorching

Meronk (26) posted a six-under-par 66 on a scorching final day on the Algarve to win by two strokes from Spain's Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez.

"I couldn't be prouder of myself for being the first Polish winner on the Challenge Tour," Meronk said.

He climbs 12 places to seventh in the Road to Mallorca rankings. While his maiden win escaped him, Sharvin remained sixth in the rankings and with just six events remaining he remains on course to win one of 15 European Tour cards.

Ruaidhri McGee shot 73 to slip to 25th on four-under and moved up just five spots to 69th in the rankings while The Island's Paul McBride is 126th after his 72 left him tied 31st on three-under. Gary Hurley picked up his first points of the season in Portugal where he was 61st on three-over.

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: Welcome to Irish rugby's biggest week - is an upset on the cards?

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport