Spain’s Pablo Larrazábal defeated his countryman Sergio Garcia at the fifth hole of a sudden-death playoff to win the BMW International Open at Golfclub München Eichenried in Germany.
The Spanish duo began the final day tied, two shots back from Mark Foster of England but, as Foster stumbled, the Spaniards stamped their mark on the tournament around the turn. Larrazábal made five birdies in six holes from the sixth while Garcia went two better over the same stretch, recording three birdies and two eagles.
At that point Garcia was clear at the top and a procession to the finish line looked a possibility. But the former World Number two, who hasn’t won since the 2009 HSBC Champions, suffered a terrible stretch from the 12th with four bogeys in five holes.
Larrazábal, playing ahead of Garcia, also dropped two shots on the run for home and, when he parred the last, posted a clubhouse total of 16-under-par.
Garcia was left requiring a birdie at the last to force a playoff. He found the par-5 green in two imperious shots and, two-putts later, he had that birdie and a place in the playoff.
The pair returned to the 18th hole and both, impressively, found the putting surface in two blows. Both then took two putts so it was back to the tee for a second try to decide the tournament.
This time Garcia’s drive found the rough while Larrazábal put his in the centre of the fairway. The younger Spaniard found the green with his second and Garcia then played a fine shot from the thick stuff to end just short of the putting surface. Garcia chipped up close and, when Larrazábal narrowly missed his eagle try, it meant another hole halved.
They couldn’t be separated after two par 3s – the 12th and 17th, so they made their way back to the 18th to play their fifth extra hole.
Once again both found the green in two, though Larrazábal was some distance from the cup. He putted up to a couple of feet and that left Garcia with a chance to win it outright from around 25 feet. His eagle effort grazed the hole but ran some four feet putt.
Garcia’s frailty from that sort of range was in evidence once again as he failed to hole out, leaving Larrazábal to tap-in for his birdie and the victory.
It was Larrazábal’s second career European Tour title and it secured him a start in the Open Championship this July. Garcia, although disappointed not to land the title, can console himself with the fact his runner’s-up finish also ensured he will be teeing it up at Royal St George’s.
Scotland’s Scott Jamieson fired a fine final round of 64 to tear through the field and end the week in a share of third place with Joost Luiten of Holland, South Africans Retief Goosen and George Coetzee and overnight leader Mark Foster.
BMW International Open
Golfclub München Eichenried, Germany
June 23-26, purse €2,000,000, par 72
1 Pablo Larrazábal (Esp) 68 67 69 68 272 €333,330
2 Sergio Garcia (Esp) 69 71 64 68 272 €222,220
T3 Scott Jamieson (Sco) 69 69 72 64 274 €88,000
T3 Joost Luiten (Ned) 70 69 68 67 274 €88,000
T3 George Coetzee (RSA) 67 67 70 70 274 €88,000
T3 Mark Foster (Eng) 68 68 66 72 274 €88,000
T3 Retief Goosen (RSA) 68 69 67 70 274 €88,000
8 Robert Coles (Eng) 72 67 65 71 275 €50,000
T9 Ross Fisher (Eng) 71 70 68 67 276 €40,533
T9 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 67 70 73 69 276 €40,533
T9 Lee Slattery (Eng) 67 72 66 71 276 €40,533
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only
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