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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 15 November, 2018
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Lowry settles for second as Garcia clinches 15th European Tour title

The Spaniard successfully defended his Andalucía Valderrama Masters title on Monday morning.

Garcia celebrates victory.
Garcia celebrates victory.
Image: European Tour/Twitter

SERGIO GARCIA CLINCHED his third Andalucia Valderrama Masters title in a row after completing his final 13 holes of a weather-affected tournament on Monday with little trouble to claim a four-shot win.

Ireland’s Shane Lowry mounted a credible challenge for his first victory in three years but fell short by signing for a final-round 66, finishing in second place and a cheque for €220,220.

Thunderstorms across the opening four days had reduced the competition to 54 holes, and Garcia, whose foundation is hosting the tournament, only completed seven holes on Sunday, when he was 10-under par and had a three-stroke lead.

Three birdies across the back nine meant he was able to stay clear of the pack, despite dropping a shot at 13, as nearest challenges Lee Westwood and Lowry fell away with a double-bogey on each of their cards.

It meant Ryder Cup star Garcia claimed a 15th victory on the European Tour and his first since triumphing at the same event last year.

Lowry joined Westwood on seven-under with a birdie at the 10th before Garcia resumed his round, but Westwood soon started a disastrous back nine by dropping a shot at the first hole on his way in. 

Lowry made further gains at 11 and 12 to apply some pressure, and Garcia’s lead dwindled to just a single stroke when he dropped a shot on the back nine for the first time at 13 after his approach clipped a tree.

Westwood, who has not won on the European Tour since 2014, was fading as he went four-over through seven holes, and Lowry’s five at the par-three 15th left Garcia firmly in charge.

The Irishman signed for a final-round 66 but needed Garcia to drop three shots.

Instead, he picked one up with a 12-foot birdie putt at the penultimate hole and made par at the last to add to his titles in Andalucia in 2011 and 2017. 

Meanwhile, Gavin Moynihan recorded a career-best finish of tied eighth after a final-round 66, with the Dubliner picking up a cheque for €44,933. 

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Ryan Bailey

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