Garcia ends drought with Byron Nelson playoff win
Sergio Garcia’s victory at the Byron Nelson Classic with Sunday’s playoff win over Brooks Koepka gave the Spaniard his first US PGA Tour victory since 2012′s Wyndham Championship and his ninth overall.
Garcia joins Seve Ballesteros for most career victories by a Spaniard on the PGA Tour. Garcia carded a closing 68, while Koepka shot 71. They finished at 15-under, one stroke ahead of American Matt Kuchar who took outright third position.
“It means so much [to match Ballesteros],” said Garcia after the victory. “I played really well the last five holes, including the playoff, but other than that I was battling with my swing a little bit, playing hard and chipping great, and made some great putts.”
Garcia parred the first playoff hole, the 18th, to beat the overnight leader Koepka, who found water from the tee to kill his chances. The Spaniard also overcame four bogeys and two trips to the water enroute to his final round of 68.
36-year-old Garcia is a man who has spent half his life playing professional golf around the world. Sunday’s victory has stirred debate as to whether a Major can be bagged for a player who seemed destined for Major success when he entered the professional ranks in 1999 following a stellar amateur career which included wins at the European and British Boy’s and British Amateur championships.
At the age of 21, Garcia won his first PGA Tour event at the 2001 MasterCard Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and then won again at the Buick Classic in New York the same year. He was the youngest Tour winner since Tiger Woods in 1996 at age 20.
Along the way Garcia hasn’t secured a major title despite being close in 2008 at Oakland Hills and in 2007 and 2014 at The Open, yet Garcia himself doesn’t appear to be too concerned to have a victory list without a major title to his credit.
“I guess nowadays I also realise that, obviously, winning is amazing; it’s great, it’s an unbelievable feeling, but it’s not the only thing in the world,” he said. “There’s so many other things that you can do to help people other than hitting the golf ball.”
Yet one thing is for certain, Garcia gives 100% when the glove is on and he always has, and will be, an exciting player to follow.
“When I’m out there, I’m trying my hardest, but if it doesn’t come out, I try to take it as the best way possible. Some weeks are better than others, but, you know, I tried.”
Sure, Garcia like many has suffered misfortune at the most unfortunate times, yet luck was finally on Garcia’s side this time on Sunday in Texas.
John Senden was the best of the Australians finishing in a tie for 41st position at 7-under with Stuart Appleby three behind in a tie for 58th.
Rhein Gibson and Rod Pampling made the weekend as did Cameron Percy and Steven Bowditch.
The cut came in at 2-under which saw Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith, Matt Jones, Robert Allenby, Aaron Baddeley and Greg Chalmers having the weekend off.