Garcia seals emphatic victory

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Sergio Garcia has finally broken his winless drought – and he did it by demolishing the rest of the Castello Masters field.

Sergio Garcia has finally broken his winless drought – and he did it by demolishing the rest of the Castello Masters field by 11 shots on Sunday.

Garcia put on a masterclass at the Club de Campo del Mediterráneo this week, as he took full advantage of being back at the club he has played at, and won at, since he was a child.

The Spaniard shot a final-round eight-under-par 63 to add to his rounds of 67, 63 and 64 on the first three days, eventually finishing on a whopping 27 under par 257 total for the week – a full 11 shots clear of his nearest competitor, countryman Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who closed with a 64.

His victory, the first in almost three years, is the joint-third largest in the history of the European Tour and is three shots more than the biggest winning margin this year, underlining the fact that Garcia’s slump in form is a thing of the past.

Though his performance will not be offially entered into the record books because placing on the fairways was allowed all week, the only two bigger margins of victory in Europe belong to Tiger Woods, who won the 2000 US Open Championship by 15 shots, and Ernie Els, who won by 13 shots at the 2005 Asian Open. Els is also the only player to finish further under par than Garcia – 29 under at the 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic.

Once as high as second in the world, Garcia’s form took a dramatic dive in recent years, and he dropped outside the top 75 for a period of time. But he is now back inside the top 35 – and rising.

He also didn’t waste any time in dedicating his victory to his countryman, the late Seve Ballesteros, who died of brain cancer in May.

“That was for Seve,” he said, sending a kiss to the heavens.

Garcia entered this tournament on the back of a four-week break, and he believes it did him a world of good to recover from a long stint in America.

“They were mother’s milk for me – obviously they worked,” he said.

“It’s hard to say that you expect to fire like I did, but I was feeling good and I’ve been improving all year.”

Though he started the day already a full eight shots clear of the rest and didn’t need to be spectacular again, that’s exactly what he was, picking up nine more birdies, four on each nine, and a lone bogey at the 17th for his final-round 63.

In fact, though he was one over par for the first 10 holes of his first round, he was brilliant from then on. From the moment he took the halfway lead after Friday’s second round, he never looked like relinquishing it.

“I would like to thank not only my family and friends, but also my sponsors, everyone that’s around me, for supporting me through two tough years,” said Garcia.

“They have stuck with me and believed in me and I’m happy to be able to pay them back with this victory.

“At the beginning of the week there’s always a little extra pressure because you want to do well in front of your home fans and on your home course.

“But I felt really good and it showed. Hopefully I can keep moving forward, but there are still some things I can improve on.”

Swede Alex Noren (64) and Scot Richie Ramsay (65) finished joint-third on 15 under, 14 shots back, while South African Thomas Aiken (63) and George Coetzee (66), were fifth and sixth on 14 under and 12 under respectively.

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