/ Golf

Garcia sneaks Andalucia Masters title

Updated: Sunday, 30 Oct 2011 17:18

Sergio Garcia plays a shot on the sixth hole during the final round of the Andalucia Masters
Sergio Garcia plays a shot on the sixth hole during the final round of the Andalucia Masters

Sergio Garcia is back in the world's top 20 and top of Europe's Ryder Cup points race after grabbing his second victory in a row today.

The 31-year-old, who ended close to three barren years in winning by a runaway 11-stroke margin in his home Castello Masters last weekend, just held off fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez to take the Andalucia Masters at Valderrama.

"I'm out of words," said Garcia after getting up and down from the rough on the last to win by one. "It's been two amazing weeks."

His latest success was followed by an admission that he feared he would never come back from a slump that saw him crash from world number two to outside the leading 75 - and quit the game for a while last season.

"Ask Luke Donald," Garcia told Sky Sports. "We had a very tough conversation in Madrid."

Now, with Donald top of the rankings, they are on course to pick up their unbeaten Ryder Cup partnership in Chicago next September.

"Ryder Cup years are always special," Garcia added, "so hopefully we can make that team."

Garcia, three times a runner-up on a course where no Spaniard had triumphed, was three ahead with three to play.

But Jimenez birdied the 16th and a marvellous five-wood over the lake gave the 47-year-old a 12-foot eagle chance on the next.

He had to settle for birdie, though, and when he left a 15-foot putt short of the final hole it meant three closing pars were good enough for Garcia.

Not that he found them easy. He was in trees and sand at the 16th, but holed from six feet, then was fortunate on the next when his second shot skipped out of a bunker.

"Don't plug," he shouted with the ball in the air, but after finding himself in the rough instead he made his five and then chipped to three feet from beside the final green.

Needing to win to qualify for this week's HSBC World Championship event in Shanghai, Garcia's level-par closing round of 71 gave him the €500,000 first prize with a six-under total of 278.

Jimenez, runner-up to Tiger Woods at the venue in 1999, had taken over the lead going into the back nine, but bogeys at the 13th and 15th cost him dear.

The short 15th was also the hole Scotland's Richie Ramsay was left ruing. He had moved level with Garcia, but blocked his tee shot and the ball was not found until just after the five minutes allowed for the search were up.

It cost the former US Amateur champion a double bogey five and he had to be content with third place for the second week running.

Ireland's Shane Lowry was fourth after a joint best-of-the-day 67 and England's Steve Webster fifth following a 69 spoilt by two closing bogeys.

Pictured below: Shane Lowry tees off on the second hole at Valderrama

Defending champion Graeme McDowell had two days to forget. He finished last of those who survived the cut on 25 over after rounds of 81 and 82.

Peter Lawrie ended the weekend four over par after a final round 69.

England's Richard Finch had nothing to smile about either after taking an 11 on the 17th as he finished 13 over.