6 Feb 2017

Sergio wins in Dubai

2:31 pm on 6 February 2017

Sergio Garcia moved back into the top 10 golfers in the world after leading from start to finish to claim his 12th European Tour title, and first for three years, in the Dubai Desert Classic.

Sergio Garcia and fiancé Angela Akins poses with the Dubai trophee.

Sergio Garcia and fiancé Angela Akins pose with the Dubai trophee. Photo: Photosport

Garcia carded a flawless closing 69 at Emirates Golf Club to finish 19-under, three shots clear of Ryder Cup teammate Henrik Stenson.

Garcia pocketed a winners cheque of about $NZ 600,000, while New Zealand's Ryan Fox took away about $NZ 9,600 for finishing in a tie for 63rd.

The 37-year-old Spaniard began the day with a three-shot lead and rarely looked threatened before responding superbly when Stenson finally closed the gap to two with a birdie on the 14th.

With the Open champion firing his tee shot on the next over the green on his way to a bogey, Garcia's stunning approach to two feet set up a birdie and two-shot swing to give the world No.15 some welcome breathing space.

Stenson birdied the last to complete a 69 and finish 16 under par, two shots ahead of England's Tyrrell Hatton and Denmark's Lasse Jensen. Ian Poulter, who was in the final group alongside Stenson and Garcia, struggled to a closing 76 to finish tied 15th.

"It was great but it was tough," said Garcia, whose previous win on the European Tour also came in the desert in Qatar in 2014, although he won on the Asian Tour in 2015 and the PGA Tour last season.

"Even without his best, Henrik's always there. He doesn't give anything away. I think it was tighter than everybody thought but I'm very happy to play the way I played and with some of the key moments, the way I handled them. It's great to beat Henrik, we all know what a great player he is."

Garcia now has 25 official professional victories to his name, although he also has almost as many top-10 finishes in majors (22) without tasting success.

"When I get to Augusta, the US Open, the British Open, (US) PGA, I just want to do the best I can," he added.

"Just like I try any other week. So that's not going to change.

"Some weeks I'm really good, like this week, and some weeks are not quite as good. But it doesn't mean that I'm not trying.

"At the end of the day the only thing I can do is give my best out there and if I leave the course feeling like I gave it everything then I am trying. I'm going to keep trying and give myself more shots, more chances at majors and you know, see what happens."

Meanwhile, Japan's red-hot Hideki Matsuyama maintained his sizzling run of form, successfully defending his Phoenix Open title with a gripping playoff victory over American Webb Simpson in Arizona.

Matsuyama clinched his fifth win in his last nine starts worldwide when he sank a 10-foot birdie putt on the fourth playoff hole.

- Reuters