Qatar Masters: Sergio Garcia lifts title in Doha
Sergio Garcia defeated Mikko Ilonen in a play-off to win the Qatar Masters twelve months after being dramatically denied at the same event.
That year it was a Chris Wood’s eagle at the final which saw the Spaniard’s hopes of title success crumble, but this time Garcia was determined for a better outcome and soared through in sudden death to get his hands around the trophy.
Garcia set the clubhouse target of 16-under-par after a flawless seven-under 65, but the 34-year-old failed to deliver with an eight-foot birdie putt on the last before being forced to watch on as Ilonen birdied the 16th and 18th to complete a 66 and force the game into overtime.
Both players returned to the 18th and both found the green on the par five in two; Ilonen missed his eagle attempt from 25 foot before Garcia did likewise from only half of that same distance.
When Ilonen tried the 18th again he still failed to deliver a killer blow, missing an eagle attempt from 25 foot after Garcia got up and down from a greenside bunker.
Then it was down to the third extra hole, which would prove to be decisive in creating a winner. Ilonen found the same bunker and was unable to rescue a birdie, which left Garcia a tap-in to secure an 11th European Tour title after missing with his long eagle putt previously.
Speaking to Sky Sports News Garcia was asked his thoughts on how much pressure he was feeling contesting his seventh European Tour play-off, having won two and lost four in previous attempts. "I almost feel less pressure because you feel like you've had a great week already and if you win it's kind of like a little bit of a bonus,” Garcia said. "It's been an amazing week already and I was definitely more nervous on my tee shot on the 18th (in regulation) than in the play-off. That's probably why I hit three better tee shots."