|Sergio Garcia wins Thailand Championship|
|Sunday, December 15, 2013 9:00 PM|
CHONBURI, Thailand — Sergio Garcia shot a final-round 68 to beat Henrik Stenson by four strokes and win the Thailand Golf Championship at the Amata Spring Country Club on Sunday.
The 33-year-old Spaniard, who held the lead since the second round, turned in a solid final round that featured six birdies and two bogeys to finish on 22-under 266.
The victory is Garcia’s first this year with his last win coming at the Johor Open, an Asian Tour event in Malaysia last December.
“It was great, an amazing week,” said Garcia, who has now won four Asian Tour titles in his career. “I’m very, very happy and I can’t wait to go back home to Switzerland and kind of sleep on it a little bit.
“I knew Henrik was going to make it difficult for me. He’s been playing so amazingly great and he did. I started well but he also did. He kept hitting good shot after good shot.”
Garcia raised some eyebrows by playing with his girlfriend, Katharina Boehm, as his caddie this week but the partnership has proved to be effective.
Sweden’s Stenson, who recently made history when he became the first player to win the Race to Dubai and the FedEx Cup, matched Garcia’s 68 in his final round for an 18-under 270 total.
“It was a good week. Especially (because) I’ve had a great year but coming here really on the fumes left in the tank, not too much going for me to perform this week in that sense. But … I was hanging in there and I was just coming up a couple short,” Stenson said.
“I needed something really, really good to happen there. I had a couple of chances to get a little bit close around 8 and 9 but I didn’t make those two birdie putts and Sergio was hanging in there, made one or two good saves and then he made three birdies in a row, then he pulled away. Then I really needed something spectacular to happen the last four or five holes.”
Alexander Levy of France shot a 69 to finish another four shots back for a 274 total and third place. Last year’s winner, Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, with a second straight 67, was joint fourth on 275 along with Yuki Kono of Japan, US Open champion Justin Rose and Anirban Lahiri of India.
American Rickie Fowler endured an up and down round that featured six birdies and four bogeys for a 70 and an 11-under 277 to finish in a share of eighth place with Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat.
Kuchar, English win Shootout, set tourney mark
NAPLES, Fla. — Matt Kuchar and Harris English ran away with the Franklin Templeton Shootout, shooting a 14-under 58 on Sunday in the final-round scramble to break the tournament course record.
Kuchar and English finished at 34-under 182, playing their last 28 holes at Tiburon in 25 under. They opened with a 64 on Friday in modified alternate-shot play and had a 60 on Saturday in better ball.
The duo beat Retief Goosen and Fredrik Jacobsen by seven strokes, matching the tournament record for margin of victory set by Curtis Strange and Mark O’Meara in 1989 in the inaugural event.
“It was a fun week,” Kuchar said. “This is one of my favorite events of the year. I wish we could more team events. I realize during the year, that’s difficult but to mix up the formats and have a partner here is just a lot of fun. It’s nice to perform well.”
Kuchar and English, who replaced the injured Brandt Snedeker in the field, each earned $385,000.
“It’s such a relaxing event,” Harris said. “It’s really cool being part of this event.”
Goosen and Jacobsen closed with a 61 but had little chance to catch the winners.
“It was unbelievable, quite an exhibition,” Jacobson said. “Both guys were putting well and they’re solid ball-strikers, so we knew we had to pick up the pace. But they played so well, there’s not much you can do about it.”
Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter had a 59 to finish third at 26; Chris DiMarco and Billy Horschel were fourth at 24 under after a 60.
Stewart and Connor Cink win Father/Son Challenge
ORLANDO, Fla. — Stewart and Connor Cink won the Father/Son Challenge on Sunday, making two eagles in their final five holes for a 3-stroke victory in the scramble event.
Connor Cink, a Clemson freshman who preferred hockey over golf as a teen, put the duo in front with a 30-foot eagle at No. 14. His father capped the day with a 20-foot eagle putt at No. 18, the last of nine consecutive 3s in a back-nine 27. They finished with an 11-under 61 for 22-under total.
“We just hit our stride out there,” said Stewart Cink, the 2009 British Open winner. “That back nine was just a blur.”
Steve and Sam Elkington and Vijay and Qass Singh tied for second. The Singhs shot 61 and the Elkingtons had a 63.
“Connor and Stewart were too strong today,” Steve Elkington said. “Who would have picked the Cinks to win the tournament starting the week? And here they did it. They did it easy.”
The 3-shot victory was the largest in the Father/Son since 2004. The Cinks also are the second team to win in their first start in event that returned last year from a 3-year hiatus after the 2008 edition.
“I think it’s pretty monumental,” Stewart Cink said. “Connor doesn’t play golf. We’re not talking about a kid who plays in college or has played on various tours. He hasn’t played 30 rounds since he was 14 years old. He doesn’t play golf but he’s very talented in a lot of his sports.”
Connor Cink played youth hockey while growing up outside Atlanta and for a time considered trying out for Clemson’s club hockey squad.
“After this week,” he said, “I might try to hit the links a little bit more often.”
Defending champions Davis Love III and son Dru were fourth at 17 under after a 63. Next came 73-year-old Jack Nicklaus and son Gary, who began the day two shots off the pace but faded with a 65 that left them tied for fifth at 16 under with Curtis and Tom Strange.
“I was relying every time on (Gary) and you can’t do that,” Jack Nicklaus said. “You’ve got to be a team. I’ve got to contribute my part and I didn’t contribute my part.”
Scott Pinckney leads Web.com Q-school
LA QUINTA, Calif. — Scott Pinckney shot a 7-under 65 on Sunday on PGA West’s Nicklaus Tournament Course to take a 1-stroke lead after the fourth round of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament.
The 24-year-old Pinckney, a former Arizona State player, had a 21-under 267 total after 72 holes in the 6-day, 108-hole event that will determine player priority rankings for the Web.com Tour season.
“It felt like I was going to make the putt even before I hit it,” Pinckney said. “I really saw the line well and just trusted it. You’re going to hit good putts and they’re not going to go in but it was my turn on the back nine.”
Pinckney missed an 18-footer for eagle at No. 11, then one-putted the final seven holes — five for birdies, including a 15-footer at the closing hole.
Scotland’s Jimmy Gunn was second after a 66, also on the Nicklaus course.