First a Ryder Cup record and now a 15th European Tour title. Sergio Garcia has certainly answered his critics over the past few weeks.
The latter came as the Spaniard, the tournament host, recorded a four-shot victory in the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, claiming that prize for a third time and second year in a row on home soil.
“To be able to win three times here in Valderrama is a dream come true,” admitted the 38-year-old after signing off with a 69 for a 12-under-par 201 total and a four-shot victory in an event that was reduced to 54 holes due to inclement weather,
“It’s so difficult, this golf course is so challenging. For me to be able to shoot three rounds under par with the positions we played all week, all the rain we had, and all the stop and going means a lot. I’m very proud of that.”
Garcia led by three shots when the final round resumed and, though Lowry got within a stroke at one point, his hopes of denying the home favourite were undone by a double-bogey 5 at the 15th.
“I knew the guys would attack, they would be going after me,” added Garcia, who justified his Ryder Cup wild card by becoming the record points-scorer in the event as he helped Europe to a resounding 17.5-10.5 victory at Le Golf National outside Paris.
“This is the kind of golf course that if you’re a little bit off you can struggle but if your game is on it gives you a lot of birdie opportunities. Obviously Shane was playing well, he got close to me, then unfortunately he doubled 15 and then I dug up an extra gap with my birdie on 14 and opened it to four.”
Lowry, bidding for his first win since the 2015 WGC Bridgestone event, carded seven birdies in his final-round 66 as he finished two shots ahead of Finn Mikko Korhonen, withEngland’s Ashley Chesters fourth on five under.