Doha, Qatar – Chris Wood eagled the final hole at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters on Saturday to secure his first European Tour win in dramatic fashion.
Wood led by three strokes entering the final round, but he was eventually caught by Sergio Garcia and George Coetzee, who both birdied the par-5 18th at Doha Golf Club to jump in front at 17-under.
After parring Nos. 16 and 17, Wood went to the final hole one stroke back, needing at least a birdie to stay in contention. The 25-year-old Englishman then blasted a drive down the fairway, sent his approach within 10 feet, and calmly drained the eagle putt to finish at 18-under 270.
"There's an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders today," said Wood. "I feel like I can go on and win more. I knew it was going to be hard no matter how I played -- winning on the European Tour is not easy."
Wood carded a 69 in the final round, while Garcia and Coetzee shot 66 and 65, respectively, to tie for second. Alexander Noren (71) and Steve Webster (68) took fourth at 13-under and Branden Grace (71), Simon Khan (72) and Anthony Wall (69) placed sixth at minus-12.
Martin Kaymer (70) and Jason Dufner (69), who was making his first appearance in Qatar, highlighted a large group tied for ninth at 11-under, while world No. 4 Justin Rose (68), former U.S. Open winner Michael Campbell (74) and four others ended in 16th at minus-10.
After a run of disappointing finishes, Wood finally managed to wrangle his first European Tour win. Last season, he finished one stroke behind Thorbjorn Olesen at the Sicilian Open, while just a year earlier he dropped a playoff to Louis Oosthuizen at the Africa Open. In perhaps his most well-known close call, the Englishman bogeyed the final hole to miss out on a playoff with Tom Watson and Stewart Cink at the 2009 Open Championship.
On Saturday, another near-miss loomed as the former Rookie of the Year quickly lost his edge with double-bogey stumble on the par-3 third. That gaffe, coupled with a birdie/bogey stretch at Nos. 5 and 6, dropped Wood into a tie with Coetzee, who closed his outward nine with back-to-back birdies.
Coetzee stayed on point and grabbed a 2-stroke lead after the turn with an eagle on the par-5 10th, but Wood answered with his own birdie/birdie run at the end of his front nine to pull even.
A birdie on No. 16 propelled Coetzee to 16-under, and Wood quickly followed suit on the 14th, but Garcia was determined to make it a three-man race.
After a lackluster opening nine, the 10-time European Tour winner birdied three of his first five holes on the back to get to 15-under. Looking for his first victory since capturing the 2012 Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour, Garcia moved into a share of the lead with a short birdie roll on the 17th.
The stage was set, and Coetzee was first to act. The 26-year old found the rough to the left of the green with his approach on the last, but he deftly got up-and-down for birdie and the outright lead.
Garcia was next. After his tee shot went into the rough, the Spaniard sent his third shot within five feet of the cup and rolled the birdie putt home to join Coetzee.
Wood, though, provided the final act, playing No. 18 with precision: fairway with his first, green with his second, cup and inaugural victory with his third.
"It feels good," continued Wood. "Blimey, I've seen a few mates picking up trophies and I've been waiting patiently for my time. I felt like I was due to win for a couple of years."
Coetzee, meanwhile, is still left searching for his first win on the tour. The South African finished 21st in the Race to Dubai last season. He earned his tour card through Q school prior to the 2011 campaign, then posted eight top-10s, including a playoff loss at the Johnnie Walker Championship.
NOTES: Wood tied for fifth at the Open Championship as an amateur in 2008. At 6 feet, 5 inches, he is the tallest player on the European Tour ... Current Open champion Ernie Els ended in second-to-last place at 5-over ... Oosthuizen, a winner at the Volvo Golf Champions in his previous start, finished at minus-8.