Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Sergio Garcia with the Andalucia Masters trophy in 2011  (Getty Images)
Sergio Garcia with the Andalucia Masters trophy in 2011 (Getty Images)

Sergio Garcia became the first Spaniard to win a stroke play event at Real Club Valderrama with a battling triumph at the last Andalucía Masters in 2011.

Garcia, also a winner on home soil in the previous week's Castelló Masters and three times a runner-up at Valderrama in 2004, 2005 and 2006, carded a level par 71 to finish on six under in Sotogrande.

That put him one clear of Miguel Ángel Jiménez, who led for much of the front nine and then birdied 16 and 17 to re-ignite his challenge, with Scotland’s Richie Ramsay a shot further back in third and Ireland’s Shane Lowry fourth on three under.

Garcia climbed into the top 20 of the Official World Golf Ranking with his fifth European Tour victory on Spanish soil.

“It’s very, very special,” said Garcia. “I have so much history here and unfortunately it wasn’t as good as this until now."

Jiménez initially joined Garcia on six under with two birdies inside his first three holes and found himself in sole possession of the lead when his fellow countryman three-putted the sixth before finding trouble off the tee at the next and making another bogey.

Jiménez's failure to capitalise on a host of further opportunities on the front nine proved costly, however. While he dropped shots on the 13th and 15th, Garcia recovered well and returned to his overnight score with birdies at 11 and 14.

A superb up-and-down from a greenside bunker at the par four 16th kept him at six under, but Jiménez made three at the same hole and picked up a further shot at the infamous 17th to reduce the gap to one, having set up an eagle chance with a magnificent approach shot over the lake guarding the green.

Another birdie at 18 looked likely when Jiménez found the fairway and green, but he left his 15-foot putt agonisingly short and Garcia, despite missing the putting surface at the last, held his nerve to claim a second win in as many weeks.

“I’m out of words,” said Garcia. “It’s been two amazing weeks. Miguel fought so hard and had some good chances coming in, 17 for eagle and 18 for birdie.

“I wasn’t as good as probably the last 13 days, but we hung on and managed to pull through.

“On 18, we decided to play a little more conservative and make sure we hit the fairway, then the chip was just amazing. I thought it was going in.

“I’ve been in that situation three or four times on this course. It wasn’t easy, but I believed in my ability. To be able to hit the chip I hit there and roll the putt in with the pressure, it was nice.”

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