Local hero Sergio Garcia successfully defended his Andalucia Valderrama Masters title after wrapping up a comfortable four-shot victory on Monday.
Garcia had been in possession of a three-shot lead when stormy conditions forced play to be suspended on Sunday night after a series of weather delays on the opening three days at Real Club Valderrama had already seen the tournament reduced to 54 holes.
And 2017 Masters champion Garcia powered to victory when play resumed on Monday, carding three birdies and a single bogey in his last 11 holes to finish the week on 12 under par.
- Thomas Aiken finished as SA’s best after a final round 66 helped him into a share of 16th place
The impressive victory was Garcia’s third in this event, following successes in 2011 and 2017, continuing his love affair with a course he has singled out as being one of his favourites in the world.
Irishman Shane Lowry finished alone in second after notching seven birdies in his final-round 66.
The 31-year-old had given Garcia a scare when he closed the gap to a single shot courtesy of three birdies in a row at the start of the back nine but a disappointing double-bogey at the short 15th derailed his challenge.
- Zander Lombard missed the cut and will need to return to Q-School to gain a card for next year
Finn Mikko Korhonen was another two shots back in third, one ahead of Ashley Chesters in fourth, with seven-time European Tour winner Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano finishing in the group in a share of fifth on four under to jump into the top 116 in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex and retain his playing privileges.
Scot Richie Ramsay also kept his card after finishing in a share of 11th on two under par to jump up to 115th on the list, with David Horsey clinching the final place.
Garcia had opened his final round with a birdie and one bogey in his first seven holes to remain at 10 under par before the hooter sounded at 1:49pm on Sunday.
And with the threat of lightning keeping the players off the course for the rest of the day, it was announced the last full-field event of the European Tour season would run into a fifth day.
When the action resumed at 9:10am local time, Garcia safely parred the final two holes of his front nine to reach the turn in 35 and maintain his three-stroke advantage on 10 under par.
A birdie from around nine feet at the 10th took Garcia to 11 under and handed him a four-shot lead.
But a bogey on the 13th and a birdie burst from the charging Lowry saw Garcia’s lead shrink to one stroke with five holes of his round remaining.
Europe’s leading Ryder Cup points-scorer bounced back with a birdie at the 14th and when Lowry put a double-bogey on his card at the 15th, Garcia’s advantage was back to four shots.
After Lowry had closed his round with a birdie three at the 18th, Garcia picked up a shot at the 17th to get to 12 under and claim the title.
Credit: European Tour