Chris Wood has been named The 2013 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month for January after securing his maiden win on The European Tour International Schedule with a stunning eagle three at the final hole in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at Doha Golf Club.
Wood, who receives an engraved alms dish and a Jeroboam of Moët & Chandon champagne, battled back from surrendering a three-shot advantage early in the final round to overhaul South Africa’s George Coetzee and Spain’s Sergio Garcia on the 589-yard par 5 72nd hole with a booming drive, a brilliant six iron over water to ten feet and a perfect putt.
The 25-year-old Englishman, who won the Silver Medal at the 2008 Open Championship before finishing one stroke away from a play-off with eventual champion Stewart Cink and Tom Watson at Turnberry 12 months later, claimed the second leg of The European Tour’s Desert Swing with a closing 69 for an 18 under par 270 after Coetzee and Garcia had shot 65 and 66 respectively.
Wood said: “It meant so much to get my first European Tour win in Qatar, so to be voted Golfer of the Month on the back of my performance there is great news. It means a lot to have your achievements recognised.
“Winning in Qatar was a big step forward for my career – I now know that I can get into contention and beat a lot of the best players in the world coming down the stretch so I hope to take a lot of confidence from that going forward.”
The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month Panel, comprising members of the Association of Golf Writers as well as commentators from television and radio, also praised the performances of South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen (winner of the Volvo Golf Champions), Jamie Donaldson (Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship) and Stephen Gallacher (Omega Dubai Desert Classic) before naming Wood, the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year in 2009, as the first recipient in 2013 of the Award which started 29 years ago.
Derek Lawrenson, Golf Correspondent of the Daily Mail, said: “Louis Oosthuizen’s stirring victory lifted him to fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking but this was a month when the spotlight fell firmly on the awesome strength of British golf.
“If truth be told there was barely a hair’s breadth between Donaldson, Wood and Gallacher. Donaldson achieved his win with the two best players in the world in the field; Wood fought back courageously for his maiden win; Gallacher won with a collection of astounding blows including five eagles.
“But Chris Wood, one behind with one to play, leapfrogged not only George Coetzee but also a player he grew up idolising in Sergio Garcia with a stunning last hole eagle. Outside claiming a Major, does it really get any better than that?”
Wood will now be considered for The 2013 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year Award – seeking to follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Rory McIlroy.