Sergio Garcia has closed the gap on Tommy Fleetwood at the top of the Race to Dubai Rankings with a one shot victory at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation.
The win, which is his third of the season after his maiden Major championship triumph at the Masters Tournament and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, takes the Spaniard’s season points tally to 3,184,581, meaning he is now just under 800,000 points behind Race to Dubai leader Fleetwood.
He’ll be pushing for a few more strong finishes to further narrow the gap between him and Fleetwood before the top 60 players tee-off at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, which takes place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 16-19.
Nick Tarratt, Director of the European Tour International Dubai office, said: “Congratulations to Sergio on his third victory of the season. The Race to Dubai is heating up as we get to the business end of the season and although Tommy has been the runaway leader so far, it will be fascinating to see how close Sergio can get to the top as we get closer to next month’s finale.”
Garcia went in to the final round at the Real Club Valderrama in San Roque ahead of the field by a single shot but by the time he came off the par five 11th, he was three shots ahead of his nearest competitor Joost Luiten.
However in the end Garcia was able to fend off a late charge from Luiten as he took a one-shot lead in to the final two holes of the championship and when both men birdied the 17th and parred the last, it was the home hero who came out on top to win his sixth European Tour title on Spanish soil and the 14th of his career.
“Joost played unbelievable,” said Garcia, who became an Honorary Life Member of the European Tour earlier in the week.
“I played really well and I felt like maybe I could get away and he just kept coming back and back and made it an amazing match. I stayed patient the whole time, I made sure the bad moments did not affect me too much and made a couple of really key putts coming in.
"The people were unbelievable, amazing, so many people came out and supported, it was really a treat. I want to dedicate this one to my wife Angela and our little baby coming next year in March."
Meanwhile Luiten’s lone runner-up finish saw him earn 222,000 points as he moves from 54th to 31st place in the Race to Dubai Rankings. The Dutchman, who secured just his second top ten finish of the season in Spain, now has a healthy season tally of more than 844,000 points to confirm his spot at Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Earth course for next month’s DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
Another man who made significant strides up the rankings was England’s Daniel Brooks. He finished in third place all on his own to claim 125,200 points and move in to the top hundred of the Race to Dubai Rankings and secure his playing privileges for next season.
Jamie Donaldson also returned to form with an impressive performance at Valderrama. The 2014 Ryder Cup hero’s fourth place finish takes him from 118th to 99th in the Race to Dubai Rankings. He’ll know that only a series of good finishes in the closing stretch of the season will see him have any hope of breaking in to the top 60.
Australia’s Wade Ormsby was another man who made gains at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation thanks to a fifth place finish which earned him points 84,800. He now moves from 106th to 82nd spot in the Race to Dubai Rankings with a season tally of 447,740.
However despite Garcia’s heroics, it’s still the Englishman Tommy Fleetwood who remains at the head of the Rankings with 3,974,247 points, whilst Garcia is in second with a season-tally of 3,184,581 points and his young compatriot Jon Rahm sits in third spot on 2,840,693.