It’s all go for January after the R&A and USGA published their finalised Rules of Golf. So what’s coming in? Steve Carroll outlines the changes.
Garcia the perfect host at the Valderrama Masters in Spain
It was all happening at the Valderrama Masters, where Sergio Garcia emerged from a Sunday thriller with Joost Luiten to claim his third win of 2017.
It turned out to be a two-man race and, in the end, it was the tournament host Sergio Garcia who pipped Joost Luiten for his sixth win on home soil. Garcia won the previous instalment of this, back in 2011, so effectively it was a defence and he now has three wins on the European Tour this year after his victories in Dubai and Augusta.
He closed with a 67 for a highly unlikely winning 12 under total, one better than Luiten, and four clear of Daniel Brooks of England.
Garcia birdied 9, 10 and 11 to go three clear and you might have expected the back nine to fizzle out. But he then bogeyed 12, Luiten birdied 13 and 15 and we were then all square. But the Dutchman three-putted the next and, after a pair of birdies at 17, Luiten lipped out at the last from around 25 feet.
“Daniel played great with everything he had on the line, trying to keep his card, and Joost played unbelievable. I played really well and felt like maybe I could get away and he just kept coming back and made it an amazing match. I stayed patient the whole time, made sure the bad moments didn’t affect me too much and made a couple of really key putts coming in,” Garcia said.
“I want to dedicate this one to my wife Angela and our little baby coming next year in March – this one is for them.”
Tee shot through the trees 🌳↩️— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) October 22, 2017
Slip on your second shot 👟↩️
That's one way to win it Sergio... pic.twitter.com/ndk8Y32wkm
That’s it for the 2017 season in terms of who kept their playing privileges for next season and it was a huge week for Daniel Brooks whose third-place finish saw him rocket from 123rd to 97th on the Race to Dubai. The leading 101 players kept their cards. The Englishman needed to finish 8th or better to have a chance via the Access List but he managed it in style with a 64 on Saturday and a 71 nudged him into third on his own.
Jamie Donaldson wouldn’t have lost his card as he is in the top 40 for career earning but, with that only lasting one season, this was a massive week for the 2014 Ryder Cup man. The Welshman finished fourth to move from 118th to 99th on the money list – a share of fourth and he would have finished outside the top 101. He might have to buy Scott Jamieson a nice glass of something after the Scot doubled the 16th.
Other good stories included Wade Ormsby, who was fifth to move up 24 places to 82nd, Ashley Chesters (see Best Quote) and Ricardo Gouveia who sneaked the penultimate spot on the Access List with his 23rd-place finish.