GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Rainy weather left Sergio Garcia stuck in central North Carolina for an extra day. Turns out it was worth the hassle — because he’s leaving with his first PGA Tour victory in four years.
Garcia claimed a 2-stroke win Monday in the water-logged Wyndham Championship for his first victory on tour since the 2008 Players Championship.
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He finished with a 66 to wind up at 18-under 262, claim $936,000 in prize money and maybe seal a spot on the European Ryder Cup team.
“I think there were a lot of things going on. It shows a lot to me,” Garcia said. “Hopefully, this will secure my spot on the Ryder Cup team, and winning is always nice.”
Tim Clark was at 16 under following his 67 in the final tour event before the playoffs, and Bud Cauley finished 15 under after his 68.
Garcia led both after the third round and when the fourth round was held up overnight thanks to a persistent downpour.
He had three straight late-round birdies after a bogey briefly dropped him into a tie for the lead, and cruised to his eighth career PGA victory.
Wyndham Championship Final Scores
1. Garcia (-18)
2. Clark (-16)
3. Cauley (-15)
T-4. Campbell (-14)
T-4. Walker (-14)
T-4. Pettersson (-14)
• Complete scores
Garcia began the decisive surge on the par-4 No. 13, plopping his chip roughly a foot from the flagstick and tapping it in for birdie.
He added another birdie on No. 15 — a pretty chip from a greenside bunker left him with a 5-foot putt — and followed that with another birdie on the par-3 16th after his tee shot stopped closer than 2 feet from the stick. He added a birdie on No. 17 to move to 19 under, leaving his bogey on the final hole inconsequential.
It was a bit of redemption for the 32-year-old Spaniard, who in his last appearance in Greensboro in 2009 held a share of the lead after three rounds and was up by 3 strokes midway through the round, but let it slip away. He finished in fourth place that year.
Yet he didn’t necessarily come back thinking Donald Ross’ course at Sedgefield Country Club owed him one.
“That year, I was pretty much in control, and I lost it myself,” Garcia said. “The course didn’t do anything wrong to me.”
This time, he finished strong to give a huge boost to his Ryder Cup candidacy. The 10 automatic qualifiers will be set following the Johnny Walker Invitational with Jose Maria Olazabal making two captain’s picks.
AP Photo/Gerry BroomeSergio Garcia is hoping that his first PGA Tour victory in four years improves his chances of making the European Ryder Cup team.
“We’ll see when the team comes out, but I think my chances are a little better now,” Garcia said.
Nicolas Colsaerts — whose 66 left him at 13 under — wants a spot, too.
“When you play rounds like these and you commit to tournaments and you get yourself in position like this and make the most of it, it just shows how much you want it,” Colsaerts said.
In addition to the quests by players on both sides for Ryder Cup selections, much of the focus — as it always is at the tour’s annual late-season stop in central North Carolina — was on the chase to make the FedEx Cup playoffs, which begin in a few days at The Barclays.
But everything wound up taking a back seat to the weather, as heavy rains dumped more than 2 inches of water on the Sedgefield course on Sunday.
The final round was halted at roughly 3 p.m. with 38 players still on the course and seven players within three shots of Garcia. The decision came 2½ hours later to hold off until Monday morning — the first Monday finish in Greensboro since 1983.
Clark, a South African and local favorite who played college golf at North Carolina State, matched Garcia at 15 under with a birdie on his third hole of the day, the par-4 No. 8. Garcia moved to 16 under with a birdie on the par-4 No. 11, but he gave that stroke back with a bogey on the next hole after missing a 10-foot putt for par.
Moments later, Chad Campbell joined them atop the leaderboard after his third consecutive birdie came on the 17th. Then Garcia made his big move.
“It was going to be tough to catch (Garcia), the way he finished,” said Clark, who moved to 54th on the points list after not even being in the playoff picture a few weeks ago. This was his fourth top-15 finish since late June.
Among the playoff hopefuls, Heath Slocum was the only one to start outside the top 125 but play his way into The Barclays. His final-round 71 left him at 7 under for the tournament and pushed him to No. 124.
“Every little point helps, every little dollar helps,” Slocum said.
Jason Dufner could have taken over the top spot on the points list with a victory, but he finished 5 strokes back and wound up leapfrogging Rory McIlroy for No. 2 behind Tiger Woods. He came in at No. 3, the highest-ranked player in the field.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press