Sergio Garcia has fixed his sights on winning a place in Europe’s Ryder Cup team for this year’s match at Gleneagles after capturing the Qatar Masters.
The 34-year-old Spaniard, a veteran of six Ryder Cup teams, gave his chances of making Paul McGinley’s side for this September’s clash a timely shot in the arm by winning his 11th European Tour title in the second event of the so-called Gulf Swing.
Garcia denied Finland’s Mikko Ilonen on the third hole of a sudden-death play-off to make up for last year’s disappointment in Doha. On that occasion, an eagle on the 72nd hole by England’s Chris Wood denied him victory but, this time around, most of the final round drama was provided by Garcia, who carded a flawless 65 to put himself in the trophy mix.
The win was his first on the European Tour since October 2011 but, crucially, moved him up the Ryder Cup points rankings. He is currently eighth on the European Points List and third on the World Points List.
“It’s a good start to the year,” acknowledged Garcia afterwards. “It’s great to set up my year, win on the European Tour, and get more Ryder Cup points. I couldn’t ask for a better week.
“With the end of last year and the beginning of this one, I have got some good Ryder Cup points in there. There’s still a long way to go but it's good to have some of the work done already and just got to keep doing in the same direction.”
"It’s great to set up my year, win on the European Tour, and get more Ryder Cup points" - Sergio Garcia
The Qatar Masters title gave Sergio his second win in less than two months, following his victory in the Thailand Golf Championship in December and his recent good form has seen him climb back into the top ten on the world rankings. That, he reckons, is down to playing much more consistently.
“Before I even won in Thailand last year, I considered last year was a really good year,” he added. “The consistency that I was able to achieve last year was what really stood out for me.”
Meanwhile, Scotland’s Paul Lawrie put a dismal Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship behind him by finishing tied for 11th in Qatar. A winner of the title two years earlier, the Aberdonoan shot rounds of 67, 70, 69 and 70 to finish just outside the top ten and pocket a cheque for €32,599.
Garcia: A Ryder Cup certainty?
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