Jun
26
2011
Lose-Win for Sergio
By Stephanie Wei under European PGA Tour

I love you, man!

After losing the BMW International Open in a thrilling five-hole playoff to fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal, at least Sergio Garcia wins a decent consolation prize (other than the second-place check). Garcia, who withdrew from the British Open qualifying in Texas last month due to an infected fingernail, needed to place in the top-two in Munich to earn enough money for a spot in the field at Royal St. George’s next month.

Sergio’s rollercoaster round added to the dramatics. He birdied Nos. 6-8 and then posted eagles on No. 9 and 12, but then he made three consecutive bogeys. Needing to birdie 18 to tie Larrazabal and force a playoff, Sergio reached the green on the par-5 in two shots and then two-putted.

Unfortunately, he eventually lost on that same hole in the duel with Larrazabal, missing a five-footer. Meanwhile, Larrazabal had a tap-in for birdie and the win. He was quite emotional as you may be able to discern from the photo above.

“I had nothing to lose,” Larrazabal said. “If you tell me who you want to beat in a playoff, then I would say first Tiger Woods and then Sergio. I have a lot of respect for Sergio, he is one of my heroes. He is still for me one of the best players in the world.”

Sergio was gunning for his first victory since the Alstom Open de France in 2008. But good news is he won a spot next month’s British Open. The top two finishers in the mini-money list of six European Tour events, starting with the BMW PGA Championship and ending in Munich, earn exemptions.

“Pablo and I played some great golf in the playoff. It is a pity one of us had to lose,” said Garcia. “But seventh at the U.S. Open and second now, this shows my game is coming around.”

Prior to making it through the 36-hole US Open qualifier, Sergio’s streak of 47 (now 48 and 49, I guess) consecutive starts at major championships was in danger. Pretty impressive that he’s scrapped his way into the US Open and British Open fields at the last minute. On the other hand, maybe he shouldn’t have fallen so far in the world rankings to have been put in such a situation. Either way, good for Sergio.

(AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)