Sergio Garcia beat Brooks Koepka in a sudden-death playoff to claim the AT&T Byron Nelson title on Sunday. The Spaniard shot a final-round 68 to reach 15-under-par for the tournament and then produced the goods on the first extra hole.
‘To me, the most important thing at the end of the day is how I played the last four holes and the playoff hole, knowing that you have to do something at least I wouldn’t say special, but you have to do something good to have a chance knowing that there’s some tough holes coming in,’ he said.
El Nino started the day three-shots behind Koepka and needed to make ground early. The now nine-time PGA Tour winner had an eventful front nine and accumulating four birdies but also gave two shots back to go out in two-under-par 33. At the same time 26-year-old Koepka dropped a shot on the third, but fought back to birdie the seventh and ninth to lead going into the stretch.
Garcia stumbled into the stretch with a bogey at the 10th, but recovered the stroke at the 13th. He dropped a shot at the 14th, but pencilled in another birdie at the 16th to set the clubhouse target at 15-under-par.
‘Obviously, the course was playing tougher today,’ said Garcia. ‘A bit more breeze. Firming up a little bit. Some tough pin positions. But it looked like Brooks was pretty much in control.
‘I wasn’t playing amazing but I was playing nicely. I was chipping and putting great going to 15 and obviously made a very soft bogey on 10 after hitting a great tee shot but then the par save on 11, the birdie on 13 and more than anything, not making double on 14 after hitting the water was very important.’
Koepka faltered on the back side and bogeyed the 14th and 15th. The 2015 Phoenix Open champion’s misery was compounded when he made double-bogey at the first play-off hole to hand the title to the Spaniard.
Garcia rose to 12th in the world ranking with his second Byron Nelson title, having won the event in 2004. It was also his first win on the PGA Tour since the 2012 Wyndham Championship.
Charl Schwartzel was the best-placed South African in a tie for 58th at four-under par, followed by Tyrone van Aswegen a further shot back.