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Dec 6th, 2015
Sergio wins in Vietnam
First victory in 22 months
Words: The Brigadier Photography: Getty Images
Sergio Garcia won a four-way play-off in the inaugural US$1.5 million Ho Tram Open after a gripping final round on Sunday.
The 35-year-old Spaniard parred the second extra hole at The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip to beat Himmat Rai of India to the title after Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang and Thai Thaworn Wiratchant had bowed out earlier in the richest full-field Asian Tour tournament this season.
This was Garcia’s 23rd career Tour victory and his first since January 2014. It came with a cheque of US$270,000.
“Winning is never easy. I was fortunate and you have to be lucky to win. I was fortunate to get a second chance after I pretty much gave it away. I’m very happy as I haven’t won in a while. After you’ve been up there and you don’t win, a lot of things go through your mind and this win will help give me a little bit more confidence,” said Garcia, who signed off with a three-under-par 68 for a 14-under-par 270 aggregate.
Starting the day two back of overnight leader Lin, Garcia stormed out with a stunning outward 29 to open up a three-shot lead before his game surprisingly unravelled with a bogey on 10 and a double bogey on 17. Thaworn and Rai both had 67s while Lin hit a 70 to force extra-time.
In the first extra hole on 18, Garcia, who has now won five Asian Tour titles, drained a massive 35-foot birdie putt which was matched by Rai, who converted from five feet after Lin and Thaworn missed their birdie attempts.
Sergio won victory with a par after Rai dropped a shot after finding the bushes with a poor drive.
“It was a strange day. It felt like I was so much under control, the way I played the front nine. Then I hit a bad tee shot on 10 but I still managed to get it back together and had some chances, which I didn’t make. Then I hit a poor shot on 17,” said Garcia.
“I guess they gave me a hat in my hand, I gave it away and they gave me another chance. It was just luck for me. I had 30 to 35 feet (in the first play-off hole), and even if you hit a great putt, you need to get lucky. Then I managed to get to the next hole and unfortunately Rai pulled it a bit left into the bushes and I managed to make four and that was it.”