Sergio Garcia Wins Sanderson Farms Championship, Ending Yearlong PGA Tour Title Drought

Sergio Garcia is flying high like a bird(ie)

The 40-year-old Spanish professional golfer, who’d gone a little more than a year without a victory, has won the Sanderson Farms Championship with an 8-iron to 30 inches for birdie on the final hole.

Sergio Garcia

“The perfect ending for an amazing week,” Garcia said.

Garcia, who’d failed to make the FedEx Cup playoffs and fell out of the top 50 in the world for the first time since 2011, hit a 5-wood that barely cleared a bunker and set up an eagle putt from just inside 4 feet to tie for the lead, before hitting the birdie for the win.

Peter Malnati, whose lone PGA Tour victory was at the Country Club of Jackson five years ago, rallied from five shots behind with a career-best 63, punctuated by a 30-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole.

That set the target, and Garcia needed his two big shots to catch and then beat him. The 5-wood from 260 yards on the 14th hole hit the top collar of the bunker, hopped onto the fringe and rolled out close to the hole.

But it was the 482-yard closing hole into the wind that made him proud.

“I stood up on 18 and I did what I’ve been doing all week. I trusted myself,” Garcia said. “I aimed down the right side of the fairway and just hit a hard draw — really, really nice drive — and it gave me the ability to have an 8-iron into the green instead of having a 6 or something like that.”

It was his first PGA Tour victory since he won the Masters in 2017 with a back-nine rally highlighted by an 8-iron that glanced off the pin on the 15th and set up eagle. He eventually beat Justin Rose in a playoff.

“This time it was an 8-iron on 18, and to almost hit the pain again and hit it close, it was a dream come true,” he said.

Garcia now has won at least once worldwide in each of his last 10 years, a streak he shares with Rose. He won for the 11th time on the PGA Tour, and the 31st time worldwide.

He finished at 19-under 269 and moves to No. 38 in the world.

Garcia heads for Las Vegas, with the Masters just over a month away.

“A boost of confidence, there’s no doubt,” Garcia said. “Every time you play well, even if I would have not won it, it still would have been a massive high for me this week. To be able to do a lot of the things that I did, it meant a lot. It showed me a lot of what I still have and what I still can do.”

Jon Rahm Named the 2019 European Tour Golfer of the Year

Jon Rahm is the man of the hour…

The 25-year-old Spanish professional golfer has been named the 2019 European Tour Golfer of the Year.

Jon Rahm

Rahm finished the year as the No. 1-ranked player on the Euro Tourwith victories at the Irish OpenSpanish Open and the World Tour Championshipin Dubai.

He finished second at the BMW PGA Championship and Andalucia Masters.

In the United States, Rahm finished tied for ninth at The Masters and tied for third at the U.S. Open.

Rahm was selected by a panel of golf media. Ireland’s Shane Lowry, who won The Open, finished second in the voting.

Rahm joins Seve Ballesteros (1986, 88, 91) and Sergio Garcia (2017) as the third Spaniard to receive the European Tour’s Golfer of the Year award.

Sergio Garcia to Play This Year’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Sergio Garcia is headed to Louisiana…

The 38-year-old Spanish professional golfer, defending Masters champion and world No. 11 has committed to play in the PGA Tour‘s Zurich Classic of New Orleans team event in April.

Sergio Garcia

Tournament chief Steve Worthy, who made the announcement, says Garcia’s partner will be fellow Spaniard and Zurich Classic newcomer Rafa Cabrera Bello, who is ranked 21st.

Garcia last played the tournament, held at the TPC Louisiana, in 2010.

Garcia and Cabrera Bello teamed for two matches at the 2016 Ryder Cup, going 1-0-1 in Europe’s losing effort.

Worthy says this year’s field also will include 2011 Zurich Classic winner and two-time former Masters champion Bubba Watson, but with a new partner, Matt Kuchar. Last year, Watson played with J.B. Holmes.

This marks the second year of the team format at the Zurich, won last year by Swede Jonas Blixt and Australian Cameron Smith.

 

The tournament runs from April 26-29.

Sergio Garcia Wins Andalucia Valderrama Masters

Make that a Spanish seis for Sergio Garcia

The 37-year-old Spanish golf star successfully defended his title at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters to claim his sixth victory on home soil.

Sergio Garcia

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

England’s Daniel Brooks was four strokes further back in third, a result good enough to secure his European Tour card for next season by moving him from 123rd on the Race to Dubai to inside the top 100.

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 on the ninth.

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 had the luxury of two-putting from close range to claim a third win of the season.

Following Dramatic Playoff, Garcia Wins First Major Title at The Masters

Sergio Garcia is seeing green… Finally!

The 37-year-old Spanish golfer finally proved he can win a major, and he now has the iconic green jacket to prove it.

Sergio Garcia

Needing his best golf on just about every shot in the final hour at The Masters, Garcia overcame a two-shot deficit with six holes left to play and beat Justin Rose in a sudden-death playoff Sunday for his first major after nearly two decades of heartache.

No one ever played more majors as a pro — 70 — before winning one for the first time.

Garcia was able to get rid of the demons and the doubts with two big moments on the par 5s — one a par, the other an eagle — in closing with a 3-under 69. It was never easy until the end, when Rose sent his drive into the trees on the 18th hole in the playoff, punched out and failed to save par from 15 feet.

That gave Garcia two putts from 12 feet for the victory, and his putt swirled into the cup for a birdie. He crouched in disbelief, and shouted above the loudest roar of the day.

Sergio Garcia

Rose, who also closed with a 69, lovingly patted Garcia’s cheek before they embraced. Rose then tapped Garcia on the heart, which turned out to be a lot bigger than anyone realized.

“Ser-gee-oh! Ser-gee-oh!” the delirious gallery chanted to Garcia, who couldn’t contain his emotion.

Garcia turned with his arms to his side, blew a kiss to the crowd and then crouched again and slammed his fist into the turf of the green.

All that Spanish passion was on display, raw as ever, this time sheer joy.

Garcia became the third Spaniard in a green jacket, winning on what would have been the 60th birthday of the late Seve Ballesteros. And it was Jose Maria Olazabal, who won the Masters in 1994 and 1999, who sent him a text on the eve of the Masters telling Garcia to believe and “to not let things get to me like I’ve done in the past.”

He didn’t get down after missing a 6-foot putt on the 16th hole, or missing a 5-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole in regulation.

His chin was up and he battled to the end.

“If there’s anyone to lose to, it’s Sergio. He deserves it,” Rose said. “He’s had his fair share of heartbreak.”

This was shaping up as another, especially after Garcia watched a three-shot lead disappear as quickly as it took Rose to run off three straight birdies on the front nine.

Tied going to the back nine, Garcia immediately fell two shots behind with wild shots into the pine straw bed under the trees. Rose was poised to deliver a knockout on the par-5 13th when Garcia went left beyond the creek and into a bush. He had to take a penalty shot to get out and hit his third shot 89 yards short of the green. Rose was just over the back of the green in two, on the verge of turning a two-shot lead into four.

Everyone figured this was coming, right? Garcia himself had said, in a moment of self-pity, that he didn’t have what it takes to win a major. Four times he was runner-up. This was his third time playing in the final group.

But right when it looked to be over, momentum shifted to Garcia.

He hit wedge to 7 feet and escaped with par. Rose rolled his chip down to 5 feet and missed the birdie putt. The lead stayed at two shots but not for long. Garcia birdied the 14th. His 8-iron into the par-5 15th landed inches in front of the hole and nicked the pin, and he holed the 14-foot eagle putt to tie for the lead.

Rose took the lead with an 8-foot birdie on the 16th and gave it back by missing a 7-foot par putt on the 18th.

Not since 1998 have the last two players on the course gone to the 18th tied for the lead, and both had their chances to win. Rose’s approach hit off the side of the bunker and kicked onto the green, stopping 7 feet away. Garcia answered with a wedge that covered the flag and settled 5 feet away.

Both missed.

The playoff didn’t last long. Rose was in trouble from the start with an errant tee shot, and Garcia didn’t waste the opportunity.

Garcia & Justin Rose Top Leaderboard with One Final Round to Go at The Masters

Sergio Garcia is one day away from snapping his title drought at a major tournament…

The world will be watching Sunday at Augusta National as the 37-year-old Spaniard tries to fend off Masters co-leader Justin Rose, chasers Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth and his own demons to end his 0-for-73 streak in golf’s four most coveted events.

Sergio Garcia

It seems like a century ago that Garcia burst onto the scene as a 19-year-old, battling Tiger Woods shot for shot at the PGA Championship only to fall a stroke short.

He’s had other opportunities at the Masters, the Open Championship, the PGA and U.S. Open. Garcia has finished second in majors four times, placed in the top 10 22 times.

After coming up short in the 2012 Masters, Garcia famously told Spanish reporters he wasn’t good enough to win a major.

He gets the chance to erase his own words on the National’s hallowed grounds in a final round that will certainly not be a day of rest. He and Rose go off in the final group at 2:45 p.m. EDT.

“It was hard but it was fun.” Garcia said Saturday after posting a 2-under-par 70 for a 210 total. “It was fun to play well again, to go through a Saturday at the Masters with a chance at winning, and, you know, to be up there going into tomorrow.”

Garcia looks fit for a green jacket, shaping shots and escaping trouble. He made four birdies and played the back nine two shots under par to set the stage. He and Rose are the only players in the Masters field not to shoot a round over par through 54 holes.

The seemingly star-crossed Garcia even got some fortuitous bounces in Round 3, most notably on the 510-yard, par-5 13th hole. His approach shot wafted weakly over a Rae’s Creek tributary, slid down the hill and miraculously stopped short of the drink. He chipped off the steep bank within a foot, tapped in for birdie and again stands on the brink of a major breakthrough.

“I’ve definitely had some good breaks throughout all three rounds,” Garcia said. “Thirteen was obviously was one of them. I didn’t feel like I hit a bad shot. Obviously I hit a good drive that went into that little first cut of rough, and unfortunately ‑‑ I was hitting plenty of club, but it was one of those things that the ball just came out really soft.  I had enough club to carry on that line, and unfortunately it didn’t.

“But fortunately for me, that bank seems to be a tiny bit longer this year, which is nice.  Because, you know, it gives you the possibility of getting a break like that, and then, you know, I still had to hit a great chip to make 4.  It wasn’t an easy chip.“

Garcia Joins Four-Way Tie at the Top of The Masters Leaderboard

Sergio Garcia is sitting at the top of the leaderboard at The Masters, but he isn’t alone…

The 37-year-old Spanish golfer is joined at the top by Rickie Fowler, Charley Hoffman, and Thomas Pieters in their quest to leave with the tournament’s iconic green jacket.

Sergio Garcia

“It’s going to be a fun weekend,” Fowler said after a 5-under 67, the best score of another wind-swept day. “We’re going to see a lot of good golf and battle it out.”

Garcia, playing his 70th consecutive major and still looking for that first victory to define an otherwise strong career, wasn’t the least bit bothered by seeing the wrong score for him on a leaderboard behind the 13th green when a penalty for a lost ball was mistakenly attributed to him. He bounced back from a bogey behind the 13th green by firing a 3-iron across the water and into the wind to the 15th green for a two-putt birdie. He shot a 69.

The last time there was a four-way tie for the lead at the halfway point of the Masters was in 1973, when Bob Dickson, Gay Brewer, J.C. Snead and Tommy Aaron were tied at 3-under 141. Aaron went on to claim his only green jacket.

Garcia only really got out of position on the scoreboard.

His tee shot on No. 10 clipped a tree and shot back into the fairway, while Shane Lowry also hit a tree and couldn’t find it. Both were wearing dark sweaters during the search, and the scorers were confused with who lost the ball. Garcia made bogey, dropping him to 3 under. A few holes later, however, it was changed to 1 under on the scoreboard, and Garcia pointed to the board behind the 13th green.

It eventually was fixed, though that was of no concern to the 37-year-old Spaniard.

“The most important thing is I knew where I stood,” Garcia said.

And he knows the score that everyone talks about — 70 majors as a pro without a victory, and enough close calls to make him wonder if he’ll ever get it done.

Garcia Wins First Dubai Desert Classic…

It’s Lucky No. 8 for Sergio Garcia

The 37-year-old shot a final-round 3-under-par 69 to win the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday after holding the tournament lead since the opening round.

Sergio Garcia

Garcia, who had never posted a top-10 finish in his previous seven Desert Classic appearances, finished on a 19-under 269, three strokes ahead of Open champion and top-ranked European Henrik Stenson (69).

 

Denmark’s Lasse Jensen, whose 65 was the low round of the day, finished tied for third with England’s Tyrrell Hatton (67).

It was Garcia’s first European Tour win since the 2014 Qatar Masters. In the interim, he also won the Byron Nelson Classic on the PGA Tour last year.

With his 12th European Tour victory, Garcia became the sixth wire-to-wire winner of the Desert Classic and the sixth Spaniard to lift the “Dallah” trophy.

Garcia is expected to move up to No. 9 from his current 15th place when the rankings are released on Monday.

He started the day with a birdie and increased his lead to four shots, a cushion that seemed necessary given how tough the front nine of the golf course was playing due to cross winds. He held his nerve throughout before making a critical par save on the eighth hole after hitting his tee shot into the right desert, and then made another birdie on the tough par-4 ninth to ensure he stayed four ahead of Stenson.

The Swede made his move on the back nine, with three birdies and a bogey on the first five holes, while Garcia kept churning out pars. Heading to the 15th tee, Garcia’s lead was down to two shots.

But the Spaniard held firm on the par-3 15th hole. He hit a stunning tee shot to two feet for a birdie, while Stenson hit his over the green and failed to make an up-and-down for a bogey and a two-shot swing.

Stenson then got a closing birdie while Garcia missed his from 12 feet, narrowing the gap to three shots.

“I’ve been fortunate to have some really good ball-striking tournaments,” said Garcia, who led the greens in regulation stats for the week and was second in driving accuracy. “This definitely was one of them. I felt like my iron play was really, really good. Obviously my driver was very good, a couple of shots here and there. But you know, on a course of 72 holes, it’s going to happen.

“Nobody can go without missing a shot but this week was definitely a week where I felt very comfortable with my game. I felt like I was in good control of what I wanted to do with my ball flight and stuff. So I guess it showed up.”

Stenson, who won the tournament in 2007, said: “Obviously, I was chasing all day and I was trying to push, even though I didn’t play my best.

“With that birdie on 14, I was hoping I was going to be able to make it a bit interesting coming into the last couple of holes. If you’re one or two behind, with 17 and 18, a lot of things can happen. You can eagle and someone else can end up in trouble.

“We picked the wrong wind and I hit the wrong shot at the same time. Airmailed the green on 15 and led to bogey. And Sergio hit a good shot to three feet and then it was pretty much game, set, match.”

After completing its desert swing, the European Tour next moves to Kuala Lumpur for the Maybank Championship.

Garcia Equals Tiger Woods’ Course Record to Lead at the Bridgestone Invitational

It’s a banner day on the course for Sergio Garcia

The 34-year-old Spanish professional golfer logged the best round of his career on Friday at the Bridgestone Invitational.

Sergio Garcia

Garcia one-putted the final 11 holes and made birdies on his last seven holes to tie the course record at Firestone with a 9-under 61 to take a three-shot lead into the weekend.

He had a birdie putt on every hole on the back nine, missing only a 15-footer from the fringe at No. 11. Garcia shot 27 on the back nine, a course record.

“Just one of those moments that you love and you enjoy, and you wish there were no end,” he said.

Garcia’s feat matched the tournament record held by Tiger Woods, who shot 61 in 2000 and ’13, and Jose Maria Olazabal, who shot his 61 in 1990. Woods went on to win by 11 shots in 2000 and seven shots last year. Olazabal won by 12 in the World Series of Golf.

But Garcia still has his work cut out for him.

He was at 11-under 129, three shots clear of Justin Rose, who had a 67. Open Championship winner Rory McIlroy birdied his last two holes for a 64 and joined Marc Leishman of Australia (67) four shots out of the lead.

Garcia was five shots out of the lead when he had to scramble to save pars on back-to-back holes to close out the front nine on what seemed to be an ordinary round. Two good swings on the 10th hole led to a 20-foot birdie putt. He hit an 8-iron to 2 feet on No. 12 and 3 feet on No. 13 for the easiest birdies he had all day, and those turned out to be the start of his big run.

The Spaniard finished in style, making birdie putts of 15, 25 and 20 feet on his last three holes.

His previous best score was a 62 on three other occasions — as a 19-year-old at the Scottish Open and Byron Nelson Classic in 1999, and at Mount Juliet in 2002 at the American Express Championship.