Good news has been hard to come by for Sergio Garcia in 2019. The 39-year-old Spaniard was disqualified from a European Tour event in Saudi Arabia in February after purposely damaging greens during a round. In July, there were more on-course tantrums caught on camera at the Open Championship and the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. And after finishing 2018 at No. 23 on the Official World Golf Ranking, Garcia had fallen to No. 43 before this week’s KLM Open.
Yet on Sunday at The International in Amsterdam, Garcia finally heard the media speaking his name without taking it in vain. With a closing three-under-par 69, he won the title by one stroke over Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard.
The victory was the 16th on the European Tour for the former Masters champion, and the first since winning the 2018 Andalucia Masters. It marks the third straight year that Garcia has won an event on the European Tour, the first time in his career that he’s gone three straight seasons with a victory.
“We had a great week and great to win again,” Garcia said. “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.”
Specifically, Garcia birdied four of his first seven holes on Sunday, but bogeyed the other three to make the turn in one under par. On the back nine, Garcia made birdies on the 11th, 15th and 16th holes to take a three-shot lead over Hojgaard, only to bogey the 17th hole and bring the outcome back into doubt.
Hojgaard, an 18-year-old playing in just his seventh European Tour event, reached the par-5 18th in two. But his eagle putt that could have forced a playoff slid by the hole. His birdie left him with a 68.
Garcia proceeded to make a par on the 18th to clinch the win at 18-under 270, earning €333,330. The most satisfying part of the win? That it came with family members watching from behind the 18th green.
Said Garcia: “It was honestly amazing to have my brother [Victor], Angela my wife, and little Azalea [Garcia's daughter] here. It’s very special.”