Garcia holds off Stenson to clinch first win of the year

Sergio Garcia claimed his first win in 2013 after he shot a final round of 68 to win the Thailand Championship.

Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia

The Spaniard carded six birdies and two bogeys to finish on 22 under par, four strokes ahead of Henrik Stenson.

Garcia had claimed the lead in the second round and the 33-year-old kept Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup winner Stenson at bay, with the Swede also carding 68 in his final round to finish with an overall total of 270.

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France’s Alexander Levy also shot 68 on the final day to finish a further four strokes back, with last year’s winner Charl Schwartzel finishing in a four-way tie for fourth with England’s US Open champion Justin Rose, Yuki Kono of Japan and India’s Anirban Lahiri.

Garcia was pushed by Stenson, who cut his overnight lead by half at the turn, but the Spaniard fired three successive birdies from the 10th hole to make sure of his first win since last December’s Johor Open in Malaysia.

“I knew Henrik was going to make it difficult for me. He’s been playing so amazingly great, and he did,” said Garcia.

“He kept hitting good shot after good shot. Then when I bogeyed seven, I had to make a good par save on nine after getting a bit unlucky with the approach shot.

“Then I made three very important birdies on the first three on the back nine and gave myself a little bit of a cushion.”

Garcia, who had his girlfriend Katharina Boehm caddie for him during the event, added: “It was great, an amazing week. Obviously being the last week of the year and for having Katharina caddie for me.

“I pretty much knew that finishing par, par, the tournament was pretty much mine, and then just making sure I kept the tee shot dry on 18 and I hit a great second shot with a six iron, and once the ball came out of the clubface, I knew that I was pretty much done.”

Stenson, who had been aiming to cap off a successful year, revealed he had been running on empty during the tournament.

“I’ve had a great year, but coming here really on the fumes left in the tank, not too much going for me to perform in that sense,” he said.

“But I played really nicely (on Saturday) and I was hanging in there (yesterday) and I was just coming up a couple short.

“I needed something really, really good to happen on eight and nine but I didn’t make those two birdie putts and Sergio was hanging in there, made one or two good saves and then he made three birdies in a row, and pulled away.”

n Dawie van der Walt held his nerve over the closing holes to win the Nelson Mandela Championship by two shots and claim only his second European Tour title.

In a tournament reduced to 54 holes following several rain disruptions, the South African followed up rounds of 67 and 62 with a score of 66 to sit at the top of the pile on 15 under par in Durban.

Van Der Walt mixed three birdies with as many bogeys on the opening 11 holes, but moved to the top of the leaderboard with an eagle on the par-five 12th, then picking up further shots on the 13th and 15th to finish ahead of England’s Matthew Baldwin and Spaniard Jorge Campillo.