Spanish duel in Munich
An emotional Pablo Larrazabal beat his fellow countryman Sergio Garcia in a tense play-off to win in Munich on Sunday.
An emotional Pablo Larrazabal beat his fellow countryman Sergio Garcia in a tense and thrilling play-off to win the BMW International Open in Munich on Sunday.
The two Spaniards fought it out over five gruelling play-off holes, until a three-putt from Garcia finally brought an end to his challenge.
28-year-old Larrazabal wins his second European Tour title, while Garcia will have to wait a bit longer for the victory that has eluded him for so long – since October 2008, in fact.
But Larrazabal has had to wait even longer for his second win, with his first coming at the French Open five months before Garcia’s last victory.
Garcia will take heart from his performance in Germany this week, however, which at one stage in the day seemed like it might be enough.
He had a fantastic start to his round, making three successive birdies starting at the sixth and following it up with two eagle putts of 25 and 40 feet respectively at the ninth and 11th holes.
It saw him move out to a two-shot lead, but an almost sure sign of nerves followed for a player only just starting to get used to being in this sort of position again.
Garcia dropped four shots in five holes on the back nine, and but for a crucial birdie at the 568-yard last after finding the green in two, he would have lost outright.
Instead, both he and Larrazabal shot rounds of 68 to finish on a 16 under par total of 272, and made their way to a sudden death play-off that ran for five holes before a winner could finally be determined.
They first played the 18th twice, with both players birdying the hole both times, before they went to the 12th and then the 17th, which still could not seperate them.
Finally they returned to the last hole, and though Garcia was much closer to the hole after two shots, it was his countryman who managed to get it up and down to take the win.
Larrazabal, who only a few weeks ago lost in a sudden death play-off at the qualifying for the Open to miss out on a spot for the year’s third major, will now be traveling to Sandwich anyway.
So will Garcia, whose second place finish earned him a spot up for grabs off a “current form” mini money list.
The victory was also an emotional one for Larrazabal.
“Last week we lost my grandad, the captain of the family, and this is for him,” he said.
“Beating one of my heroes when I was growing up is just a dream – very emotional.”
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