| Reigns in Desert
Sergio Garcia makes it a dozen in the desert by claiming his 12th European Tour title as he completed a dominant wire-to-wire win at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Sergio Garcia makes it a dozen in the desert by claiming his 12th European Tour title as he completed a dominant wire-to-wire win at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, writes Louie Chan.
The Spaniard set the tone with an opening-round 65 at Emirates Golf Club and never looked back, finishing with a bogeyfree 69 to get to 19 under and beat The Open champion Henrik Stenson by three shots. Garcia entered the final round with a three-shot lead and while back-to-back birdies from Stenson on the 13th and 14th applied some pressure, the 37-yearold produced a stunning tee-shot on the 15th and a brilliant up-and-down on the next to ease to victory.
Englishman Tyrrell Hatton and Dane Lasse Jensen were then at 14 under, two shots clear of Matthew Fitzpatrick and Peter Uihlein.
Garcia celebrated his 250th European Tour appearance in some style, claiming his first win since the 2014 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and potentially moving back into the top ten of the Official World Golf Ranking. The victory continued Spain’s fine record in the Dubai Desert Classic as Garcia became the sixth Spanish winner following the great Seve Ballesteros, José María Olazábal, Miguel Ángel Jiménez, Alvaro Quiros and Rafa Cabrera Bello.
“I’m very happy to play the way I played, “Garcia said. “The way I handled some of the key moments and to beat Henrik, we all know how great a player he is. Henrik is always there so you’ve got to stay calm and collected with him.
“The eighth was very, very big because it was the worst drive I hit all week, unfortunately, but it was a massive save and then I birdied nine which was great. The 16th was important but I think 15 was more important. Even on the 18th with a four-shot lead I knew that I needed to hit a good third shot because you can mess it up a little bit there if you’re not careful.
“It’s a great start to the year so we’re going to try to keep going the same way.” The Spaniard concluded.
Garcia got off to the perfect start, putting his approach to the first to inside six feet and rolling it home to extend his lead. Stenson made a fantastic birdie after finding trouble off the tee on the sixth, putting an approach to 15-feet and rolling in the putt and while Garcia was in worse trouble on the eighth after finding the desert, he found his ball and made par from the sand. He carried that momentum to the ninth and an excellent approach brought a birdie and restored his four-shot lead at the turn.
Stenson holed an 18-footer on the tenth for birdie and while he bogeyed the 12th, he took advantage of the par five next and then put an approach to eight feet on the 14th to sit two back with four to play. Garcia hit back in stunning fashion, putting his tee-shot on the 15th to two feet while Stenson bogeyed, and when he produced a brilliant bump-and-run to save par on the 16th, Stenson’s birdie on the last only served to narrow the gap.
Garcia’s victory means a trophy, winner’s cheque and a brand-new OMEGA Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M Master Co-Axial. The timepiece features an 18K red gold case, brown leather strap, and the OMEGA Master Co-Axial calibre 8501, that boasts exquisite reliability and precision. As well as featuring the Aqua Terra’s teak patterned dial, the watch is also able to resist strong magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss.
Omega President and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann said: “Congratulations to our ambassador Sergio Garcia on his win and for treating us all to world class golf. It’s been a thrill from the first tee off. At Omega we are very proud to be part of this fantastic event, which is a real highlight of the golfing year. Best wishes to everyone from Omega to our friend Sergio Garcia”.
Furthermore, Omega has publicly announced its ongoing support for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and renews its commitment to the “Major of the Middle East”. For more than 25 years, the tournament
“I’m very happy to play the way I played. We all know how great a player he is. Henrik is always there so you’ve got to stay calm and collected with him.”
has been a celebration of golfing excellence and Omega has served as title sponsor since 2010. This is also the eighth year that the Swiss watch brand has been the title sponsor.
Sergio Garcia walks next to Henrik Stenson of Sweden during the final round of the tournament
Garcia celebrated his 250th European Tour appearance in some style, claiming his first win since the 2014 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters