GREENSBORO, N.C. — Sergio Garcia polished off an impressive Wyndham Championship with a final-round, 4-under 66 to win his first PGA Tour title since 2008.
Here are 5 Things to take away from Garcia’s two-stroke victory this week in North Carolina:
• • •
1. MAKING HIS SERG: He made no secret that making the European Ryder Cup squad played a big role in him playing the Wyndham Championship this week, trying to secure an automatic spot on the team that will compete against the U.S. at Medinah in September.
He no longer has to worry about his spot, securing it with his first victory on the PGA Tour in 1,562 days. His last win was the 2008 Players Championship.
But Garcia pointed to two wins on the European Tour in 2011 as the catalyst to a win in 2012.
“I think that a lot of the things that I did last year really helped a lot. Like I said before, you know, the way I played the U.S. Open and then the way I played in Germany to get myself into the British Open, the way I finished the year in Europe and, you know, at the end of the day for me, I’m the one — sometimes it hurts to hear people not giving enough credit to some of those wins because they’re in Europe,” said Garcia.
“Fortunately, I know how much they mean to me and I know how difficult they are so, you know, they were great and they really helped a lot.”
Garcia carved up Sedgefield Country Club this week, posting rounds of 67-63-66-66 to finish at 18 under, the lowest under par he has been since being 15 under at this same tournament in 2009. He had only four bogeys on the week.
Garcia’s putter proved to be the difference this week, finishing T-2 in putts per round at 26.8 and second in putts per green in regulation at 1.635.
It was Garcia’s first top-10 finish since his PGA Tour opener at the Northern Trust Open, where he finished T-4. His win also more than doubled his earnings for the year, having only made $869,316 coming into the week.
Garcia moved up to 33rd in the FedEx Cup standings with the victory. He was at No. 102 coming into the week.
• • •
2. TALKING PLAYOFFS: Jhonattan Vegas fell two spots in the projected FedEx Cup standings, moving to No. 126 and out of the playoffs. Only the top 125 will make the start at this week’s Barclays.
Other big names who just missed the playoffs: Y.E. Yang (No. 127), Retief Goosen (No. 131), Gary Woodland (No. 134) and John Daly (No. 140).
Meanwhile, Heath Slocum is the only player to play his way into the playoffs, moving up to No. 124. Jason Bohn was the last player in at No. 125.
“I think I’ve been playing a little better lately. I’m going to take that away as encouraging,” said Slocum. “Kind of just take the finish and just put it aside. I have life next week. I’ve been there before. It’s a course I’ve played before.”
• • •
3. HEY, BUD: Bud Cauley is having a standout rookie season on the PGA Tour, including his third-place finish at the Wyndham, three shots back of Garcia.
Cauley is currently 35th in the FedEx Cup standings, mostly due to five top-10 finishes, including three in his last four starts (a fourth at the True South Classic and a T-4 at the RBC Canadian).
“I got off to a little bit of a rough start (on Monday), bogeying my first two holes was tough but I rallied and hit some good shots coming in and fortunately there on the back-nine I missed the fairways and wasn’t able to give myself many looks at birdie as I wanted,” said Cauley, who has picked up $1,524,546 in earnings this season.
He isn’t a statistical marvel, ranking in the top 40 in only six of the Tour’s 14 standard stats. His highest is 16th in sand-save percentage.
• • •
4. GETTING HEALTHY: Tim Clark made a run at Garcia on Monday morning – at one point tied for the lead at 15 under – but had to settle for a second-place finish. But, for the injury-plagued Clark, it is another sign he is starting to feel healthy.
He has four top-15 finishes in his last six starts, including a T-11 at the PGA Championship and a T-4 at the Travelers Championship.
With the late-season surge, Clark has moved to 54th in the FedEx Cup standings.
“I’ve improved my position in tournaments pretty much the last four weeks I’ve played. So, you know the game is starting to feel good,” said Clark, who didn’t play at the Barclays last season and finished T-24 at the tournament in 2010. “I still get a little uncomfortable out there at times. I think that’s a process of being off for so long and not being in position.”
• • •
5. SHORT SHOTS: Paul Casey made his second cut of the year and the first since March and the WGC-Cadillac Championship, although he finished last among those who made the cut at Wyndham at 10 over . . . Ben Kohles, who won his first two professional starts on the Web.com Tour to secure his PGA Tour card in 2013, also made the cut, but finished T-70 at 3 over . . . Kyle Thompson made his second cut in 19 tries on Tour this season, also earning his largest paycheck at $30,160 with his T-31 finish.