Gar­cia goes wire-to-wire win at Dubai Desert Clas­sic

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ser­gio Gar­cia shot a fi­nal­round 3-un­der-par 69 to win the Dubai Desert Clas­sic on Sun­day af­ter hold­ing the tour­na­ment lead since the open­ing round.

The Spa­niard, who had never posted a top-10 fin­ish in his pre­vi­ous seven Desert Clas­sic ap­pear­ances, fin­ished on a 19-un­der 269, three strokes ahead of Open cham­pion and top-ranked Euro­pean Hen­rik Sten­son (69).

Den­mark’s Lasse Jensen, whose 65 was the low round of the day, fin­ished tied for third with Eng­land’s Tyrrell Hat­ton (67).

It was Gar­cia’s first Euro­pean Tour win since the 2014 Qatar Mas­ters. In the in­terim, he also won the By­ron Nelson Clas­sic on the PGA Tour last year.

With his 12th Euro­pean Tour vic­tory, Gar­cia be­came the sixth wire-to-wire win­ner of the Desert Clas­sic and the sixth Spa­niard to lift the “Dal­lah tro­phy.

Gar­cia is ex­pected to move up to No. 9 from his cur­rent 15th place when the rank­ings are re­leased Mon­day.

The 37-year-old started the day with a birdie and in­creased his lead to four shots, a cush­ion that seemed nec­es­sary given how tough the front nine of the golf course was play­ing due to cross winds.

He held his nerve through­out be­fore mak­ing a crit­i­cal par save on the eighth hole af­ter hit­ting his tee shot into the right desert, and then made an­other birdie on the tough par-4 ninth to en­sure he stayed four ahead of Sten­son.

The Swede made his move on the back nine, with three birdies and a bo­gey on the first five holes, while Gar­cia kept churn­ing out pars. Head­ing to the 15th tee, Gar­cia’s lead was down to two shots.

But the Spa­niard held firm on the par-3 15th hole.

He hit a stun­ning tee shot to two feet for a birdie, while Sten­son hit his over the green and failed to make an up-and­down for a bo­gey and a twoshot swing.

Sten­son then got a clos­ing birdie while Gar­cia missed his from 12 feet, nar­row­ing the gap to three shots.

“I’ve been for­tu­nate to have some re­ally good ball-strik­ing tour­na­ments, said Gar­cia, who led the greens in reg­u­la­tion stats for the week and was sec­ond in driv­ing ac­cu­racy. “This def­i­nitely was one of them. I felt like my iron play was re­ally, re­ally good. Ob­vi­ously my driver was very good, a cou­ple of shots here and there. But you know, on a course of 72 holes, it’s go­ing to hap­pen.

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