Published August 21, 2012
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Donald Ross — or, more specifically, his course at Sedgefield — got the better of Sergio Garcia down the stretch once before.
Not this time.
Garcia held on to claim a two-stroke win Monday in the water-logged Wyndham Championship for his first PGA Tour victory in four years. He finished with a 66 to wind up at 18-under 262, claim $936,000 in prize money and, perhaps, vindicate himself for his meltdown here 2009.
Back then, his three-shot lead midway through his final round slipped away, and he missed out on a playoff when his bunker shot stopped within an inch of the cup.
Yet he insists he didn't come back to Sedgefield Country Club thinking the course 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."
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 due 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 and first since the 2008 Players Championship.
He 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 within 2 feet of the stick. He added a birdie on No. 17 to move to 19 under, leaving his bogey on the final hole inconsequential.
His strong finish can only help his Ryder Cup candidacy. The 10 automatic qualifiers will be set following the Johnny Walker Invitational with European captain Jose Maria Olazabal then making two picks.
"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 course 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 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 and 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 win, but he finished five 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.