Garcia cruises to victory at the SMBC Singapore Open
Sentosa, Singapore, January 21: Sergio Garcia of Spain put on a masterful display of golf as he carded a three-under-par 68 to romp to a dominant five-shot victory at the US$1 million SMBC Singapore Open on Sunday.
The 2017 Masters Tournament champion built his one-shot lead at the start of round four into a five-shot advantage after nine holes on Sentosa Golf Club’s Serapong course.
Garcia’s day got off to a great start as he birdied the first hole. He went on to score two more in quick succession before the turn, on holes seven and eight. The Spaniard switched to cruise control for the remainder of the round, carding nine consecutive pars to close with a total of 14-under-par 270.
“It may have looked easy, but it wasn’t easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there. Obviously, I have to thank my whole team, my family, my wife Angela and my sponsors. They gave me a lot of support and it’s nice to start the year like this. I’m really pleased with everything right now. I still feel like I can get better and I can get even more comfortable. It’s still nice to play like how I did,” said Garcia.
“It’s always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren’t easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.
“I’m extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on, we were able to play and the people were able to enjoy it. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can’t wait to get a cold shower.
“I practiced a few weeks before coming here. I feel that I’m getting used to my new equipment. I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I was able to control my emotions quite well out there. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn’t miss many shots. When you are able to have a beautiful wife and a daughter coming your way, you can only be happy. They are very important.”
A final-round 71 earned Satoshi Kodaira of Japan a share of second place. The six-time Japan Golf Tour winner played a roller-coaster round, highlighted by the fact that he only had eight pars out of the 18 holes.
Shaun Norris of South Africa had a round of two halves. He dropped two shots in his front nine, but he rallied and made three birdies on the back nine to card a 70 as well as to grab a share of second place.
Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand gave himself an outside chance of winning the tournament after carding 68 and 66 in rounds two and three respectively. The 22-year-old could not sustain his mid-tournament form and closed with a 71. He finished tied-third and earned a spot at this year’s Open Championship.
The SMBC Singapore Open is part of The Open Qualifying Series. Four players who finish inside the top-12 and ties, who are not already exempt, will earn places in the field at Carnoustie from July 19 to 22, 2018.
Compatriot Danthai Boonma also finished tied-third and he will join Jazz in Carnoustie after carding a 73. The 21-year-old sizzled in round three with a 65 to lead the tournament at the end of Saturday. However, he could not bring his momentum to round four.
Sean Crocker of the United States and Cameron Davis of Australia carded 69 and 70 respectively to finish in tied-fifth. With Davis already exempt, Crocker will take up the third Open Championship spot.
The final spot to The Open went to Lucas Herbert of Australia, who finished tied-eighth with Malaysia’s Gavin Green, Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena and United States’ Berry Henson.
Herbert got the nod because of his higher position on the Official World Golf Ranking. 2017 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Green is already exempt.
Did you know:
- Sergio Garcia averaged 320 yards off the tee at the SMBC Singapore Open. His driving accuracy was 78.6 per cent and he hit 90.3 per cent of greens in regulation. Garcia’s putting average was 1.75 putts per hole.
- Garcia has only dropped three shots the entire tournament. He scored an eagle, 15 birdies and 53 pars.
- This is his fourth win on the Asian Tour. He won previously in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.
- Garcia married Angela Akins in late July last year and they are expecting a baby girl in March 2018.
- Satoshi Kodaira is a six-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour. His victories include the 2013 Japan Golf Tour Championship Shishido Hills and the 2015 Japan Open, majors of the Japan Golf Tour.
- His spouse is ex-professional golfer, Miho Koga, who was ranked first on the LPGA of Japan Tour money list in 2008.
- Jazz Janewattananond was the second-youngest winner on the Asian Tour in 2017 after Resorts World Manila Masters champion, Micah Lauren Shin.
- He is the youngest ever player to make the halfway cut at the 2010 Asian Tour International in Bangkok at the age of 14 years and 71 days. He won his first Asian Tour title in 2017, when he was 21 years old, at the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open
- Danthai Boonma won an Asian Tour tournament previously in Singapore. He was victorious at the 2015 World Classic Championship that was played at Laguna National Golf and Country Club. The Thai won by one shot.
- Shaun Norris spent most of 2017 on the Japan Golf Tour, winning once last year, at the Japan Golf Tour Championship Mori Building Cup Shishido Hills.
- He played in The Open last year and barely made the cut, which was set at +5. He went on to finish tied-62nd in the major tournament.