Singapore: Masters champion Sergio Garcia shot a blemish-free final round 68 en route to a runaway five-stroke victory in the US$1 million SMBC Singapore Open.
One shot ahead after the third round, the world number 10 showed his class in tough scoring conditions over the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club, a Golf Course Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
He picked up a shot at the opening hole and turned the screw with back-to-back birdies on the par-five seventh, where he came close to holing his approach shot, and the par-three eighth, sinking a 20 footer.
With no challengers emerging from the pack, Garcia parred the remaining 10 holes to saunter home.
“It is nice to start the year like this,” said Garcia, after winning his sixth title on the Asian Tour and his 33rd worldwide. “It was not easy. It might have looked easy but I still had to hit a lot of good shots and I was able to do that.
“I played very well and was very steady on the back nine, trying to make birdies but making sure I did not make any bogeys.”
He achieved that and more, the Spaniard playing 27 holes without a blemish on Sunday after coming back early in the morning to finish the weather-delayed third round.
He finished the tournament on 14-under 270, five shots clear of Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira (71), the world number 52, and Shaun Norris of South Africa, who birdied three of the last six holes for a 70.
As both Norris, a winner on the Japan Tour last season, and Kodaira had already qualified for the Open Championship at Carnoustie in July, the young Thailand duo of Jazz Janewattananond and Danthai Boonma, who were joint fourth, Zimbabwe-born American Sean Crocker and Australian Lucas Herbert claimed the four spots up for grabs.
The 38-year-old Garcia had a memorable 2017, with three victories including a long-awaited first Major at the Masters, and his play this week suggests another golden year lies ahead in 2018.
Using a new brand of clubs, Garcia played imperious golf from tee to green and would have won by an even bigger margin if his putter had not misbehaved in the second round.
He finished joint 11th in the SMBC Singapore Open last year before winning the Omega Dubai Desert Classic a fortnight later. He will defend that title next week.
Amateur Gregory Foo (73), a two-time Singapore Open amateur champion, and Choo Tze-huang (70) flew the flag for the host country by finishing tied for 16th. Jesse Yap, also an amateur, was equal 33rd after a closing 71.
The SMBC Singapore Open was the season-opening tournament on both the Asian and Japan Tours.