Washington - Spanish star Sergio Garcia
secured his first PGA Tour win since 2012 on Sunday after holding his nerve in
a playoff to win the Byron Nelson Championship in Texas.
The world number 15 edged out Brooks Koepka
on the first hole of a playoff at the TPC Four Seasons in Irving to claim the
ninth US PGA win of his career.
The 36-year-old's ninth victory saw him
draw level with late great Seve Ballesteros for the most wins on the PGA Tour
by a Spanish player.
"It's awesome to be up there with
Seve, it means so much," said Garcia, who said his gutsy round had been in
the spirit of his revered countryman, who died in 2011.
"I won it a little bit 'a la Seve'
today," Garcia smiled. "I was battling. I was playing hard, chipping
great, made some great putts."
The win puts Garcia firmly on track to make
the European team for this year's Ryder Cup.
"I played nicely this week, I know I
can play better," said Garcia. "This is going to drop me nicely into
the Ryder Cup points league, and that means a lot to me."
Koepka was left ruing a late collapse on
the back nine that saw him give up a three-shot lead to go into a playoff with
Garcia, where his game swiftly unravelled.
"I really had no idea where the ball
was going," Koepka said. "You've got to take some positives out of
it, but it is disappointing."
Garcia had been put in the driving seat on
the first extra hole, the 429-yard par-four 18th, when Koepka smacked his
tee-shot into the water hazard, forcing a drop.
It got worse for Koepka when his third shot
landed way short of the green. With Garcia comfortably reaching the green in
two, it meant Koepka was left needing to chip in from the fairway to save par.
That miraculous task was beyond him, and
Garcia two-putted to claim a confidence-boosting victory.
Garcia and Koepka advanced to the playoff
after a nervy finale which saw both men drop shots on the back nine.
Garcia carded a two-under-par 68 to finish
with a 15 under total of 265. Koepka joined the Spaniard on 15-under after a
Garcia's round included six birdies and
four bogeys while Koepka carded three bogeys and two birdies.
The critical period came on the back nine,
when Koepka suddenly saw a three-shot lead evaporate as Garcia grabbed a share
of the lead.
Koepka looked to be cruising when Garcia
found the water on the 14th and bogeyed.
Yet with victory beckoning, Koepka's composure
The first wobble came on the 406-yard
par-four 14th, when his second shot missed and landed well wide of the green.
He got onto the green in three but had to
settle for a bogey.
Another bogey on the 15th - which coincided
with a Garcia birdie on 16 - left the two front-runners level. Both players
parred the remaining holes to set up the playoff.
Elsewhere on Sunday, world number two Jordan
Spieth's recent travails continued with a four-over final round 74 that left
him five off the pace.
Spieth, aiming to bounce back to form after
his Masters meltdown last month and a missed cut at last weekend's Players
Championship, struggled home with six bogeys and two birdies in his final 18
holes after starting the day in second place, two strokes off the lead.
Leading scores after Sunday's final round of the PGA Byron Nelson
Championship at Irving, Texas (par 70, USA unless noted, Garcia wins
with par on first playoff hole):
265 - Sergio Garcia (ESP) 63-66-68-68, Brooks Koepka 65-64-65-71
266 - Matt Kuchar 65-67-65-69
- Colt Knost 70-63-69-65, Spencer Levin 68-66-67-66, Charles Howell
65-70-66-66, Robert Garrigus 65-70-66-66, Tim Wilkinson (NZL)
67-69-63-68, Bud Cauley 64-65-68-70
268 - Justin Hicks 70-65-68-65, Kyle Reifers 68-65-65-70
- Charley Hoffman 67-66-72-64, Tony Finau 68-67-68-66, Dustin Johnson
64-68-70-67, Chad Campbell 66-69-66-68, Steve Marino 69-64-66-70, Gary
270 - Wes Roach 64-66-73-67, Michael Thompson
70-65-68-67, Chez Reavie 67-66-69-68, Danny Lee (NZL) 63-69-69-69, Sean
O'Hair 66-69-65-70, Jordan Spieth 64-65-67-74