Sunday, 26 June 2011
Pablo Larrazabal  (Getty Images)
Pablo Larrazabal (Getty Images)
Marathon man Pablo Larrazabal beat fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia at the fifth play-off hole to clinch his second European Tour title in Munich.

The 28 year old's victory in the BMW International Open came only 20 days after he lost at the sixth hole of sudden death in an Open Championship qualifier at Sunningdale.

Now Larrazabal will be going to Sandwich after all - and so will Garcia, whose runner-up finish earned him the other spot up for grabs off a "current form" mini money list.

After two years in which he has gone from second in the Official World Golf Ranking to outside the top 80, Garcia began his revival by coming seventh in the US Open Championship a week ago.

But, after making a birdie on the 72nd to force extra holes, he lost when he three-putted the same green an hour later.

It would have been his first success since November 2008, but Larrazabal has to go back five months longer for his previous win at the Open de France.

There was also sadness attached to this one, however.

"Last week we lost my grandad, the captain of the family, and this is for him," he said.

"Beating one of my heroes when I was growing up is just a dream - very emotional."

Earlier, Garcia had been two ahead after a magical run of three successive birdies from the sixth and eagle putts of 25 and 40 feet at the ninth and 11th.

Then came four bogeys in five holes, but finding the green in two at the 568 yard last and two-putting enabled him to catch Larrazabal on the 16 under par total of 272, both finishing with rounds of 68.

They first played the 18th twice more - and birdied it both times - and then the 12th and 17th, two par threes, could not separate them.

Larrazabal was much the further from the cup in two on their return to the 18th, but he was the one to get down in two for the €333,330 first prize.

Garcia earned €222,220, while joint third two strokes behind were Scotland's Scott Jamieson after a best-of-the-day 64, England's overnight leader Mark Foster, South Africans Retief Goosen and George Coetzee and Dutchman Joost Luiten.

Garcia has not missed a Major since the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie.

His run looked set to end only a few weeks ago, but he survived a seven-man play-off for four places in the US Open Championship and then showed that he is a force to be reckoned with again.

The 31 year old even took time out from golf last year to try to rediscover his passion - and being invited to join Colin Montgomerie's vice-captains at The Ryder Cup helped him to do it.

“I think the play-off was awesome,” said Garcia. “We were hitting good shot after good shot, I just wanted to make that putt so badly. 

“But you know, I think that the up and down on 17 and the birdie on 18 really meant a lot to get myself into the play-off. 

“After all when you look at it, I'm pretty satisfied. I think that I'm sure that we can learn some good things from this week, and we just can move forward.” 

His second place takes him just outside the world's top 50, while Larrazabal will be back in the top 100 after starting the week 180th.

England's Simon Dyson and Swede Johan Edfors were in position to take The Open Championship places before the German event, but Dyson missed the cut and Edfors did not play.

Home favourite Martin Kaymer, meanwhile, came 18th and so loses his World Number Three spot to US Open Champion Rory McIlroy.

With Luke Donald and Lee Westwood first and second it is the first time United Kingdom players have occupied the leading three positions since the Official World Golf Ranking began in 1986.

Jamieson achieved his round playing with Kaymer and, after chipping in for eagle at the 11th and closing with three birdies, he said: "I didn't imagine that at the start of the day - yesterday I didn't play well at all."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
2GARCIA, SergioESP18-16
T3LUITEN, JoostNED18-14
T3COETZEE, GeorgeRSA18-14
T3GOOSEN, RetiefRSA18-14

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