Sergio Garcia seals dominant Dubai victory

Sergio Garcia cantered to a dominant victory, even as Henrik Stenson, who has spent a lot of time in Dubai, was a distant, second three shots behind the Spaniard.


Sergio Garcia who won the Dubai Desert Classic.   -  AP

Star India golfer Anirban Lahiri ended at six-under 282 and was tied-19th in only his second appearance at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic here today.

Sergio Garcia, meanwhile, cantered to a dominant victory, even as Henrik Stenson, who has spent a lot of time in Dubai, was a distant, second three shots behind the Spaniard.

Garcia put together a bogey free 69 for a 19-under total of 269, while Stenson aggregated 16-under 272.

Lahiri carded his best for the week, four-under 68 that included a monstrous 100-foot eagle on the 18th which was a source of great misery for him on Saturday when he triple bogeyed the same hole in incomplete second round.

India’s No. 1 amateur Rayhan Thomas, 17, who turned a lot of heads with his standout performance of making the cut, finished with a final round of 74 and a total of three-over 291 in tied-60th place.

It was also a week that will remembered for Tiger Wood’s withdrawal due to spasms after the first round and it raised questions on Woods’ continued comeback and whether he would tee up at the Genesis Open and the Honda Classic later this month.

Woods had said that it was a spasm and not the nerve pain, which put him out of action for 17 months before he returned for four rounds at the Hero World Challenge in December. He missed the cuts at Torry Pines and withdrew after 18 holes in Dubai.

Dane Lasse Jensen (65) had the best card of the day and was tied for third with Tyrell Hatton (67) at 14-under. They were two shots clear of Matthew Fitzpatrick (67) and Peter Uihlein (69).

“It was disappointing. I had 16 birdies and two eagles, but I was only six-under. The final round was fine, but the damage had been done in the first three rounds, when I gave away too many shots,” said Lahiri.

Keeping his sense of humour intact, he added, “That putt from 100 feet, or maybe more, was too much. Especially coming as it did after the second round, when I triple bogeyed after hitting a 7-Iron for my second shot. So, for four days I was two-under for the 18th, and there were two eagles in it.

“The Iron play was not up to my standards and my coach, Vijay Divecha is coming next week, so we will have a look at that. I drove well and this week the par-5s saved me.”

Rayhan Thomas was elated with his performance, saying, “It was an amazing experience. To make the weekend in this field was fabulous. I got the birdies alright, 18 in all. But I need to tighten up and not drop as many as I did. Overall, a superb experience.”

Back to Garcia, the Spaniard did not waver from the pole position he had reached at the end of the first round and he held it through darkness on Saturday and on Sunday he was in control to outgun the field, including Stenson (69), who played well. But was just not able to stop Garcia, who in his 250th European Tour appearance won his 12th European title and 30th around the world.

At no stage in the tournament did Garcia look vulnerable.

From the brilliant 65 on the first day to the truncated and gloomy second day, when Tiger Woods withdrew to spasms, Garcia never wavered.

After Woods’ exited even before the cut, Garcia was back in focus and opened a three-shot lead at the halfway stage.

The best came in darkness, when Garcia and his playing partners, putted out the 18th for birdies in the third round in total darkness.

Garcia started Sunday with a handy three-shot advantage and only once when Stenson had back to back birdies on 13th and 14th, did the gap reduce to two. But Stenson dropped a shot on 15th, as Garcia produced a great tee-shot on the 15th followed by a brilliant up-and-down on the next to ensure there were no hiccups. Stenson birdied the last, but that was only academic.

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