Qatar triumph could herald amazing year, says Garcia

Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:06am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Tony Jimenez

(Reuters) - Former world number two Sergio Garcia is hoping his Qatar Masters victory is an encouraging sign of good things to come for the Spaniard this season.

The Ryder Cup stalwart picked up the 11th European Tour win of his career, and his 26th worldwide, by beating Finland's Mikko Ilonen at the third hole of a sudden-death playoff in Doha on Saturday.

Garcia is one of the finest golfers never to have won a major championship and his eye-catching performance in the Middle East will tempt a lot of punters to back him for the U.S. Masters at Augusta in April.

"I hope this is the start of an amazing year," he told the tournament's official website ( after lifting the grand Mother of Pearl Trophy.

"Last year I had a lot of close calls, starting here, so I'm very excited to be able to get my hands on this trophy - this beautiful and heavy trophy.

"It's great to set up my year a little bit, to win again on the European Tour," said Garcia who last triumphed on the circuit when he captured the Andalucia Masters title in October 2011.

It was the eighth straight year the 34-year-old had competed in Qatar and victory over Ilonen made amends for his near-miss 12 months earlier when he was edged out by Briton Chris Wood's last-hole eagle.

"I'm thrilled to finally be able to win here," said Garcia who ended the regulation 72 holes alongside the Finn on 16-under-par 272.   Continued...

Spain's Sergio Garcia celebrates after his eagle putt on the 18th green during the final round of Qatar Masters at the Doha Golf Club January 25, 2014. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad