MX23RW : Thursday, November 15 21:36:34

Sergio Garcia successfully defends title as Valderrama love affair continues

The Spanish Ryder Cup star cruised to a four-shot victory.

Sergio Garcia continued his love affair with Real Club Valderrama as he cruised to a four-shot victory at the weather-affected Andalucia Valderrama Masters on Monday to successfully defend the title he won last year.

After a series of weather delays in southern Spain forced tournament organisers to reduce the event to three rounds on Saturday, another suspension on Sunday meant the final round had to be completed on Monday, with tournament host Garcia leading by three shots after seven holes.

And the Ryder Cup star put the finishing touches to his closing 69 on day five to win the event for the third time.

Irishman Shane Lowry finished four shots behind home favourite Garcia in second after carding seven birdies and a double bogey in his final-round 66.

Finn Mikko Korhonen was another stroke back in third, with first-round leader Ashley Chesters alone in fourth on five under.

Seven-time European Tour winner Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano secured his playing privileges for 2019 after finishing in a tie for fifth on four under par to move into the top 116 in the Race to Dubai rankings from 125th at the beginning of the event.

Scot Richie Ramsay also kept his card after finishing in a share of 11th on two under par to jump up to 115th on the list, with David Horsey claiming the final place.

Garcia had carded one birdie and a single bogey in his first seven holes to remain at 10 under par before the hooter sounded on Sunday afternoon.

The 38-year-old increased his lead to four shots when he rolled in from 10 feet at the 10th hole on Monday morning.

But a bogey at the 13th saw him drop back to 10 under, and with a charging Lowry notching three birdies in a row from the 10th hole, his lead was down to one shot.

However, a double bogey at the 15th saw Lowry slip back, and Garcia added birdies at the 14th and 17th to get to 12 under par and secure a comfortable victory.

Garcia told www.europeantour.com: “It’s amazing to be able to win here at Valderrama three times – it’s a dream come true.

“It’s so difficult. This golf course is so challenging and for me to be able to go out there in the conditions we played in all week and shoot three rounds under par means a lot.

“I’m very proud of that and really excited about the week.”

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