Open consolation for Sergio

There was consolation for resurgent Sergio Garcia after his play-off defeat at the BMW International Open.

There was consolation for resurgent Sergio Garcia after he lost his marathon, five-hole play-off against Fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal at the BMW International Open in Germany on Sunday.

Because he had fallen out of the top 50 on the World Rankings list during his recent slump, Garcia, who has not won a tournament in two-and-
a-half years, had still not qualified for next month’s Open at Royal St Gerorges when her teed off in Munich on Thursday.
By finishing second to Larrazabal on Sunday, however, both he and Larrazabal, as the top two on a mini-money list that has been running on the European Tour, have earned them their tickets to play at Royal St Georges. “Making The Open was definitely one of my goals. I wanted to win here if I could, but unfortunately Pablo was just a little bit better,”
said Garcia, who is getting closer every week, but is still chasing his first win since November 2008.

“Overall I am pretty satisfied. I am sure we can learn some good things from this and move forward.”

The 31-year-old has not missed a major since the 1999 Open at Carnoustie.

Joint seventh in the US Open at Congressional eight days ago – he came through a qualifying play-off to keep his run going there – Garcia was two ahead with seven to play in Munich after three birdies and then two eagles in the previous six holes.

But he inexplicably bogeyed four of the next five before making another birdie at the par-five last to catch Larrazabal.
The play-off started on the same hole and they both birdied it twice, then had pars at two par three holes before Garcia three-putted when they returned to the 18th.

“I think the play-off was awesome,” Garcia added. “We hit good shot after good shot.”

It is only three weeks ago that Larrazabal lost a six-hole play-off in a qualifier for The Open, so to win a second Tour title and make it to Royal St George’s after all meant a double celebration for the 28-year-old.

But it was also tinged with sadness. The 2008 French Open champion lost his grandfather – “the captain of the family” – last week and dedicated the win to him.

“Beating one of my heroes when I was growing up is just a dream – very emotional,” he said.

Garcia’s most famous play-off, of course, was back at Carnoustie four years ago.

He led The Open by one with one to play, but bogeyed the hole and lost to Padraig Harrington in the play-off.

The US Open was his 16th top-10 finish in majors, but he has yet to win one and has had two other second places – to Woods and then Harrington again in the US PGA.