Sergio Garcia secured his 16th European Tour title and booked his spot in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, a Rolex Series event, after winning the KLM Open on his debut in the tournament with a hard fought one-stroke victory.
The Spaniard, who became the Ryder Cup’s all-time highest points scorer in Paris last year, started the final round tied for the lead with Callum Shinkwin but found himself one behind after seven holes following back-to-back bogeys at The International.
However, a double bogey at the tenth by the Englishman handed Garcia the initiative and the 39-year-old used his experience to hold off the chasing pack by a single stroke with an 18 under par total.
“It was honestly amazing to have my brother, Angie my wife and little Azalea (Garcia’s daughter) here, it’s very special,” said Garcia, who jumps from 23rd to 13th in the Race to Dubai Rankings which ensures a ninth appearance at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
“It’s amazing. We had a great week and it’s great to win again. I played well all week under pressure. It wasn’t easy, there were a couple of tough moments today but I hung on tough, that’s the most important thing.”
Eighteen year old Nicolai Hojgaard, who was making just a seventh European Tour start, was tied for the lead with four holes to play but came up just short as he sealed second place in Amsterdam. The Dane enters the Race to Dubai in 130th after picking up 305 points in his third tournament of the season.
Meanwhile, Matt Wallace finished two shots further back to take sole third which saw the Englishman collect 172 Race to Dubai points to jump up one spot from fifth to fourth in the rankings.
Shinkwin’s final round of two over par 74 saw him finish fifth which edged him closer to the top 100 of the Race to Dubai while home favourite, Joost Luiten, shared tenth to help him move from 32nd to 28th in the rankings with just ten events left on the Race to Dubai schedule.
The top 50 players in the Race to Dubai Rankings will contest the season-ending US$8 million DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai from Nov.21-24 where US$3 million will be up for grabs for the winner, making it the richest first prize in world tournament golf.
The Race to Dubai, spanning 46 tournaments in 31 countries across four continents, is a season-long competition to crown the European Tour’s No 1 player. Celebrating the global connectivity of Dubai and the European Tour, the list of champions since 2009 reads like a who’s who of modern-era greats, including three-time winner Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson with two titles, as well as Tommy Fleetwood, Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and most recently Francesco Molinari. Formerly known as the Order of Merit, points are accumulated based on prize money won, with the top five ranked players at the end of the season sharing a $5million Race to Dubai bonus pool.