Sergio Garcia outlasts Mikko Ilonen in Qatar playoff
Sergio Garcia came back from three shots behind with a final round 65 and also outlasted Mikko Ilonen in a playoff to win the 2014 Commercialbank Qatar Masters.
The leaders entering Saturday’s final round were Steve Webster and Rafael Cabrera-Bello, tied at 12-under par and both players looked good early on with birdies in their first couple of holes. As the day went on though, other players were making birdies while the final group went along playing steady golf, with mostly pars being made and the occasional birdie or bogey. That wasn’t going to be good enough today with the amount of players making a charge, and they were quickly passed by those who were 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 under par. That group of players included Sergio Garcia, Mikko Ilonen and Thorbjorn Olesen, with Garcia firing a final round 65 and sitting with the clubhouse lead at 16-under par, awaiting the final few groups to come in.
First up was Ilonen, who after hitting a poor bunker shot, had to make a long birdie putt to join Garcia in a playoff.
Olesen, two back on the 18th, was unable to make his eagle putt, and when Cabrera-Bello failed to hole his pitch from the back of the green, we had a two-man playoff. After both Garcia and Ilonen made birdie on the 18th on the first two playoff holes, they went back to the finale for a third time, and it was advantage Garcia immediately. He found the fairway with a 3-wood, while Ilonen pushed his drive well right and into the rough, forcing a layup that ended in the greenside bunker. Garcia’s approach landed on the front of the green, and he hit a great first putt that just missed for eagle after Ilonen’s bunker shot went about 17 feet past the pin. When Ilonen missed the putt, Garcia tapped in for another birdie and secured the victory.
- 1. Sergio Garcia -16 *wins in playoff*
- 2. Mikko Ilonen -16
- T3. Thorbjorn Olesen -15
- T3. Rafael Cabrera-Bello -15
- T5. Alejandro Canizares -14
- T5. Thomas Aiken -14
- T5. George Coetzee -14
- T5. Steve Webster -14
What The Win Means For Garcia
It’s the second win in three starts for Garcia, after winning in Thailand in his final event of 2013, and when I recapped that event, I mentioned that I thought he was in for a big year because of his improved short game, and it was on point again this week. There are some, mostly in the American golf media, that will point to this week’s Farmers Insurance Open as the more impressive win for whoever finishes first, but the field here this week was very strong, so Garcia’s win shouldn’t be minimized.
We all know of the problems that he ran into last year, most of which were self-inflicted, but for whatever reason, be it his new girlfriend, his confidence in his newly found putting or whatever else, he seems to be in a ridiculous groove right now. He hasn’t finished outside of the top-20 since the Barclays last year, a run of nine events that includes two wins and six top-10’s. Along with Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson, I don’t see a more consistent player in the world right now than Sergio Garcia.
It’s his 11th win on the European Tour, and 26th as a professional, along with improving his career record in playoffs on both the PGA and European Tour to 7-9. The win also provisionally moves him back into the top-10 of the Official World Golf Rankings, right into ninth place. We’ll have to wait and see what the outcome is of the Farmers before we see where he ends up.
There’s almost no chance that you know the name Dominic Foos. Lord knows I didn’t know it until I saw his name on the leaderboard earlier this week, but the native of Karlsruhe, Germany finished at 10-under par and in a tie for 16th. Why is that special? He was born on September 3rd, 1997, which means that he’s just 16 years old. It also means that at 16, he’s better at golf than I’ll probably ever be at anything. The game is getting younger all the time on a professional level, and it’s crazy to see how good these kids are. He beat fellow German and former world number one Martin Kaymer this week by seven shots.
- Other notable finishes: Paul Lawrie (T11), Branden Grace (T13), Dominic Foos and Peter Uihlein (T16), Peter Hanson (T22), Henrik Stenson (T28), Ernie Els and Brooks Koepka (T37), Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer (T57), John Daly (T61) and Jason Dufner (T72).
- Notables to miss the cut: Miguel Angel Jimenez, Thomas Bjorn and Pablo Larrazabal.
- Michael Campbell withdrew early with an ankle injury.