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Garcia breaks three-year duck

2011-10-23 17:43

Castellon - Former world No 2 Sergio Garcia ended a near three-year wait for a ninth European Tour success by romping to an 11-shot triumph at the Castello Masters on Sunday.

The 31-year-old's fellow Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano carded a 64 to finish a distant second behind Garcia who compiled an eight-under 63 for a 27-under total of 257.

Garcia's winning aggregate would have been a tour record but for the fact preferred-lies were used.

"Gonzalo was pushing so I knew I couldn't have any hiccups and an 11-shot win is the result of good ball-striking, chipping and putting," he told reporters.

It was a second Castello Masters win on his home Mediterraneo course by tournament promoter Garcia in the last four editions of the event.

Victory also provided him with a first title since clinching the Champions Tournament event in China in November 2008.

Leading by eight shots overnight, the title looked to be a formality for Garcia but Fernandez-Castano made sure his compatriot did not waver.

After a quiet start Garcia replied to Fernandez-Castano's eagle and five birdies in seven holes with four birdies in six holes. That kept his rival seven shots away in the distance as he turned for home.

Garcia's foot then stayed firmly on the pedal. Four birdies in six holes after the turn left no doubt about the destination of the $456 000 first prize.

A worrying slump, much to do with his break up with Greg Norman's daughter Morgan, has sent the former Ryder Cup player plummeting down the world rankings.

"It isn't so much relief as satisfaction to win again after a tough two years or more since I was world No 2," Garcia said.

"The team around me, my family, my management and my caddie have helped me through it."

The victory will take him up at least 15 places from his 49th spot globally and moves him up to the 10th and final automatic qualifying place on Europe's Ryder Cup table.

Garcia failed to qualify for Europe's 2010 victory over the US and was not playing well enough for a wild-card.

"The Ryder Cup is huge, everyone knows what it means to me," said Garcia. "I don't want to slow down and I want more and more points because I don't want to be a wildcard pick."

Fernandez-Castano marred an exhilarating display by bogeying the final two holes but did enough to finish one shot in front of Swede Alex Noren (64) and Briton Richie Ramsay (65).

Leading final round scores from the Castello Masters at the par-71 course in Castellon on Sunday:

257 Sergio Garcia (Spain) 67 63 64 63 268 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spain) 69 66 69 64 269 Alexander Noren (Sweden) 69 63 73 64
Richie Ramsay (Britain) 72 64 68 65 270 Thomas Aiken (South Africa) 68 69 70 63 272 George Coetzee (South Africa) 67 70 69 66 273 Marcel Siem (Germany) 68 68 70 67 274 Marcus Fraser (Australia) 70 64 71 69
Romain Wattel (France) 70 69 66 69
Ross McGowan (Britain) 64 70 69 71 275 Niclas Fasth (Sweden) 68 69 72 66
Joost Luiten (Netherlands) 71 68 70 66
Scott Strange (Australia) 69 68 71 67
Brett Rumford (Australia) 70 71 67 67
David Horsey (Britain) 72 65 70 68
Gregory Havret (France) 69 70 68 68
Richard McEvoy (Britain) 66 69 71 69
Ricardo Gonzalez (Argentina) 69 66 70 70
Anthony Wall (Britain) 67 68 69 71 276 Christian Nilsson (Sweden) 71 71 69 65
Michael Hoey (Britain) 67 74 69 66
Stephen Dodd (Britain) 74 66 69 67
Danny Willett (Britain) 67 74 67 68
Hennie Otto (South Africa) 72 69 67 68
Matt Haines (Britain) 70 66 70 70
Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand) 67 69 66 74 277 Gary Boyd (Britain) 70 68 72 67
Gary Orr (Britain) 67 67 74 69
Matthew Zions (Australia) 70 71 67 69
Peter Lawrie (Ireland) 73 69 66 69
Lorenzo Gagli (Italy) 70 68 69 70
Steve Webster (Britain) 74 66 66 71

Reuters