Sergio García finds short game and a trophy
Spain golfer bags his biggest career win in the 35th Players Championship - the fifth biggest tournament behind golf's four majors.13 May 2008
MADRID - After three title-less years, Spain's Sergio García on Sunday took the 35th Players Championship, considered the fifth biggest tournament behind golf's four majors and his biggest career win.
Having shot an opening day 66, followed by two rounds of 73, García's 71 on Sunday was enough to cut Paul Goydos' three-stroke lead. Precision striking by the Spaniard along with three bogeys for the American, including one on the last hole, were enough to force a play-off.
García, teeing off first, came in on par on the intimidating par-three hole. Goydos' double bogey secured the victory for García, who became the first European to take this title since Sandy Lyle in 1987.
"It feels great to hold the trophy," García exclaimed. "I think that everyone knows that, not only due to the participants, the course and everything around it, that this tournament is like a major, although unfortunately, it's not," he said, before jokily "thanking" Tiger Woods for not participating.
The win can in large part be accredited to García's improvement with his short ball, and the guidance of guru-on-the-green Stan Utley, whose advice the player recently sought.
Considered among golf's finest long-ballers, García has struggled with putting consistency over the years. He lost the British Open last year after poor putting erased his lead and he was overtaken in a play-off with Padraig Harrington.
But on Sunday, García, whose putts made per greens were below average in the 74-man field, putted for 30 feet more than any other player, something that Goydos called "the most important stat".
Goydos, who putted for the most distance over the week, fell 50 feet short of García on Sunday.
[El Pais / K. R./ Expatica]