Garcia stamps class with Singapore win

Reuters
Masters champion Sergio Garcia seals an emphatic victory at the Singapore Open and says he is extremely happy with a rousing start to his 2018 campaign.
Reuters
AFP

Sergio Garcia of Spain holds up the winner's trophy after his victory in the Singapore Open golf tournament on Sunday. 

Sergio Garcia produced a masterful display of bogey-free golf over 27 holes on Sunday to open his season with a five-shot victory at the weather-disrupted Singapore Open, the Spaniard making his move early and dominating from the front.

The 38-year-old US Masters champion signed for a final-round three-under 68 in glorious sunshine to finish on 14-under 270, well clear of Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira and South Africa’s Shaun Norris, who tied for second on nine-under-par.

“I played nicely but it wasn’t easy. There were some very challenging holes but I played very well and then was just steady on the back-nine to make sure I wasn’t making any bogeys,” Garcia said.

“It was a great week overall. You still need to hit a lot of good shots to do well here and I was able to do that.”

Garcia had returned to the course at dawn to complete his third round after weather delays had forced an early finish on Saturday and the Spaniard hit the ground running, wiping out a two-shot deficit with four birdies in his last nine holes.

After reeling in overnight leaders Chapchai Nirat and Danthai Boonma and starting the last round with a one-shot lead, Garcia put on an iron-play masterclass as he surged clear of the field on the hazardous front nine at the par-71 Serapong Course.

A birdie on the first hole of his final round doubled his lead and after a sumptuous approach and monster putt secured back-to-back birdies on seven and eight, Garcia was five shots clear as his nearest rivals wilted under a melting midday sun.

The world No. 10 then settled into safety mode, aiming for the center of the greens rather than attacking the pins, as he parred his last 10 holes on the rapidly drying Sentosa Golf Club layout to ensure no one could capitalize on any errors.

The co-sanctioned Asian and Japan Tour victory is the 32nd of Garcia’s professional career and sets him up nicely for the defence of his Dubai Desert Classic title on the European Tour next week.

Tommy Fleetwood successfully defended his Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship title after a sensational back nine to clinch the win.

The 27-year-old Englishman, who celebrated his birthday on Friday, started the final round two shots behind overnight leaders Ross Fisher and Thomas Pieters, and an indifferent front nine saw him make the turn five shots behind Fisher.

But Fleetwood then birdied the 10th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 16th and 18th holes for a seven-under par 65 round to finish on 22-under 267. He caught up with Fisher on 20-under with a 25-feet birdie putt on the 15th hole, and then powered ahead with a putt twice as long on the next hole.

Fisher, 37, made an eagle from 45 feet on the second hole and added two more birdies in his front nine, but a bogey on the par-5 10th stalled his progress. He later added a birdie on the 16th, but that was not enough to catch Fleetwood and he finished with a 69 for a 20-under finish.

Rory McIlroy (70), making a comeback to tournament golf after nearly 100 days off, was tied third at 18 under alongside Matthew Fitzpatrick (69).

Top ranked Dustin Johnson shot a final-round 70 to finish on 14 under. 

Special Reports
Top