Garcia closes with 4-under 67 to win Andalucia Valderrama Masters

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There were three clear winners at the end of the $2.4 million Andalucia Valderrama Masters. Sergio Garcia took the title, while Daniel Brooks and Jamie Donaldson kept their careers alive.

Garcia won by a shot over Dutchman Joost Luiten. Brooks was third and Donaldson fourth. 

Garcia’s closing 4-under-par 67 gave him a 272 total, 12 under. It was good enough for Garcia’s third win of the season, and his 14th career European Tour victory stretching back to the 1999 Irish Open. Six of those wins have come on Spanish soil.

The 37-year-old had to deal with a charging Luiten. He shot a 5-under 66 to put pressure on the tournament host. 

“I played pretty well,” Garcia said. “I felt like I’m there to get away and he just kept coming back. Joost made it an amazing match.”

Three straight birdies from the par-4 ninth gave Garcia a three-shot lead. He birdied the first of that trio when he used a 5-wood from just off the green to hole out for a three.

“It got me going and two more birdies after that on 10 and 11 put me in a good position to try to finish it off.”

With the partisan crowd cheering him on, Garcia never let himself get complacent.

“I didn’t get complacent for two reasons. I knew Joost was playing really well, and second was Valderrama. Any time you relax you can make a couple of bogeys and start getting in a bad trend, and then it becomes a struggle. So I stayed patient. I made sure the bad moments didn’t affect me. I made a couple really key putts coming in.”

The first-place check of €333,330 (approx. $393,000) takes Garcia closer to England’s Tommy Fleetwood – who took the week off – in the race to finish the season as European No. 1. The Masters champion has cut the gap to €789,665 (approx. $930,000) with four events left on the schedule worth $31.5 million.

Garcia has never been European No. 1. His best finish is third in his rookie season in 1999.

Brooks and Donaldson secured their playing rights for next season. Brooks arrived in Southern Spain ranked 123rd on the money list, with Donaldson in the 118th spot. Only the top 100 keep their cards for next season.

The Englishman picked up €125,000 (approx. $147,000). Donaldson, who earned the winning point in the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, placed fourth and made €100,000 (approx. $118,000). Both jumped inside the top 100 in the last tournament for European Tour journeymen before the WGC–HSBC Championship and three final Rolex Series events.

Brooks moved to 97th on the Race to Dubai, while Donaldson is now 99th.

“Daniel played great with everything on the line trying to keep his card,” Garcia said.

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