2002: PGA European - Garcia earns first reign in Spain
Las Palmas, Canary Islands
Sergio Garcia already had won once this season, three times in his career on the PGA European Tour and three times on the PGA Tour.
But, what the Spaniard hadn’t done is win as a professional in his home country.
His four-stroke victory April 28 in the Spanish Open took care of that task, even though he shot a 1-over 73 in the final round. Garcia, who won the PGA Tour season-opening Mercedes Championship in a playoff, had an eagle, three birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey Sunday to finish at 13-under 275.
“It’s always great to win in your home country, and it was what I had been looking forward to,” said Garcia, who earned $258,587 for his victory at the El Cortijo Club de Campo. “It’s just unfortunate I didn’t play as well as I would have liked.”
Garcia extended his lead to seven strokes with a birdie and an eagle on the first two holes. The 22-year-old Spaniard then lost five strokes in 11 holes and led by just one stroke after the 13th. He finished his round with a bogey, two birdies and two pars for his eighth career victory.
“I made a couple of bad swings but I did what I had to do,” Garcia said. “I felt in control even if at one point it didn’t look that way. I knew if I kept hitting good shots, and played smart and patient, everything would be fine.
“When I needed to hit the ball well, I showed what I could do. A win is a win.”
Emanuele Canonica of Italy shot a final-round 72 and finished four strokes back at 9-under 279, one stroke better than Greg Owen of England, who closed with 72.
Rafael Cabrera, a 17-year-old Spanish amateur who played in the final group with Garcia, shot 73 and finished tied for fourth with Carl Pettersson of Sweden (72) at 281.
U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen shot 67 and finished in a tie for eighth at 284. Goosen, No. 1 on the Order of Merit, rediscovered the touch that had deserted him in the earlier rounds, shooting his first sub-70 round of the week.
“That was a lot better today,” said the South African, who moved up 35 spots on the leaderboard in the final round. “I eventually found some rhythm in my game and some touch on the greens. It hasn’t quite been the week I was hoping for but I think it’s better to finish a tournament well after starting badly than the other way round.
“I am going to have a week at home next week, just resting and sorting out bits and pieces in my new house, and then try and get ready for three big weeks on the European Tour, starting at the Benson and Hedges.”