Saturday, 26 January 2013
Chris Wood - Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Winner 2013  (Getty Images)
Chris Wood - Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Winner 2013 (Getty Images)

Chris Wood finally ended his European Tour title drought - and in some style - at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

The 25 year old Englishman was in danger of missing out again when a nervy start turned a three stroke overnight lead into a two shot deficit before the turn.

Wood battled back, but came to the par five last one behind Spaniard Sergio Garcia and South African George Coetzee.

The tee had been moved forward 55 yards, and after a booming drive Wood, who finished fifth in The 2008 Open Championship as an amateur and then third at Turnberry a year later, hit a 202-yard six iron over the water and straight at the flag.

It finished ten feet from the hole, and when he nervelessly sunk the eagle putt two fist-pumps showed what it meant after three runner-up finishes and 19 top-tens previously.

“There’s an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders today,” he said. “I feel like I can go on and win more.

"I knew it was going to be hard no matter how I played - winning on The European Tour is not easy.

“I've been knocking on the door in previous times and it's not happened. To get it today, to get my first win, it's such an honour. I'm so pleased.”

He did claim the Thailand Open last year for his first professional success, but still remembered how he lost the 2010 BMW PGA Championship with a closing 77 and the 2011 Iberdrola Open with a 76 after leading by four.

"It feels good. Blimey, I've seen a few mates picking up trophies and I've been waiting patiently for my time," he said.

"I felt like I was due to win for a couple of years.” As for the eagle, Wood added: "Nice way to finish!"

His 69 gave him an 18 under par total of 270 and should take him from 142nd on the Official World Golf Ranking into the top 64, who will contest the WGC-Accenture Match Play in Arizona next month, although the cut-off is not for another two weeks.

Coetzee was left as the nearly man once more - this was his 21st top-ten finish on the circuit - despite a superb 65 containing an eagle and six birdies.

The last of those came courtesy of a pitch to five feet on the 18th. The putt took him one in front, but Garcia birdied the final two holes for a 66 and they then sat and waited to see what Wood could produce.

It was a remarkable effort given a start in which he missed a four foot birdie chance on the second and double bogeyed the 223-yard third after he fired his tee shot wide and then hit the rock face in front of him.

Putts from 35 and 18 feet at the eighth and ninth were just the boost he needed, however, and a 15 footer on the 14th kept him in touch as the pressure built.

Garcia would have gone back into the game's top ten for the first time in more than three years if he had won, but he will take a lot of positives from his first tournament of the year.

"Chris hit a great drive and a great six iron and then a wonderful putt,” the Ryder Cup star said afterwards. 

“Obviously he's been trying for a while and he deserves it, and after the start he had today, it's quite impressive for him to come back the way he did and win.  I gave it my best effort.” 

Swede Alex Noren and England's Steve Webster tied for fourth, while Justin Rose's 68 for joint 16th kept him at fourth in the World Ranking.


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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1WOOD, ChrisENG18-18
T2COETZEE, GeorgeRSA18-17
T2GARCIA, SergioESP18-17
T4WEBSTER, SteveENG18-13
T4NOREN, AlexanderSWE18-13
T6WALL, AnthonyENG18-12

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