- Qatar Masters, Round Four
Wood magic seals first Tour win
England's Chris Wood conjured up a timely eagle on the 18th hole at the Qatar Masters to steal his maiden European Tour title from under the noses of Sergio Garcia and George Coetzee.
The competition seemed to be heading for a play-off between Garcia and Coetzee - with Wood well-placed to join them - with just the final hole to play, as the two finishers were tied on 17-under while Wood was a shot behind after a par at the 17th.
But the 25-year-old was not to be denied and,having managed to birdie the 18th in his first round on Wednesday, went one better after landing flush on the fairway from the tee and then hitting a majestic long iron eight feet from the hole.
It was the only eagle three on the hole all day.
Wood had 19 top ten finishes but not one European Tour win to his name coming into the tournament in Doha, but looked odds-on to end that when he held a three-shot overnight lead.
Yet he seemed to have forgotten the script on Saturday and stuttered through the early stages, missing a four-foot chance for a birdie at the second hole and then double-bogeying the third. Wood recovered to birdie the eighth and the ninth but he had no immediate answer to Coetzee's eagle at the tenth, which brought the South African level at the head of the field.
The signs were worrying for Wood at that stage as Coetzee had put in a strong back-nine performance in each of his first three rounds - his highlight coming on the second day when he birdied five of the final six.
A repeat of that purple patch was not to be although he did sink birdies on the 16th and 18th holes, meaning he could card a 65 for the day for the clubhouse lead. But Garcia joined him to force a potential play-off thanks to a brilliant back nine of five-under which featured back-to-back birdies on the final two holes.
Wood might have settled for just joining them to try his luck in a shootout but he chanced his arm and reaped the rewards. Afterwards the Bristolian admitted that his poor start to the round actually settled him down and he believes he can now go on to win more titles.
"I knew it was going to be hard today no matter how I played," Wood told Sky Sports. "To win on the European Tour, it's not easy. Despite marking my line on the second [hole] from four feet - I felt like I would have knocked it in otherwise - there was a little bit between clubs on three and I didn't make a great swing.
"But after that it probably settled me down a bit and I gave myself a few birdie chances, knocked a couple of nice putts in to give myself a bit of momentum, and it was a nice way to finish. There's an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders, I feel like I can go on and win more."
Wood's fellow Englishman Steve Webster finished fourth but was challenging for the overall lead early on after three birdies in the first five holes.
Tied with Webster was Sweden's Alex Noren, while Justin Rose's round of 68 meant he finished 16th overall and kept his world ranking at No. 4.