The Castello Masters began with a prediction from Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal that Sergio Garcia would make his European team for the 2013 Ryder Cup in Chicago.
Adidas Golf's Garcia and the great underachiever of the European game produced an astounding display on his home course, rounds of 67, 63, 64 and 63 in Valencia gave Garcia an 11-shot victory to equal the record-winning margin for any tour event in Europe.
Former Ryder Cup Captain Tony Jacklin set the mark in 1974 and four others have equalled it. This was the first, however, for 19 years. As the final shot dropped to the hole, Garcia sent a kiss to the skies and said: ‘That was for Seve.’
Golf fans wondered where Garcia had been since Padraig Harrington snatched the 2007 Open and 2008 US PGA titles from his grasp.
All season there had been glimpses he was feeling his way back, but nothing to suggest this though.
It was the Spaniard’s first win since his HSBC Champions success in November 2008. There is still a feeling that he has a long way to go before anyone starts sizing him up for a Ryder Cup uniform. This was on his home course in an event he hosts, but this could be the spark for him to play as he can on a regular basis.
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano finished runner up. His 64 took him to second place at 16 under, one in front of Scot Richie Ramsay (65) and Swede Alex Noren (64).
It seemed to be a race for second place. Fernandez-Castano stormed to the turn in a best-of-the-week 29 with an eagle and five birdies, but Garcia’s brilliance resumed an eight stroke lead. With birdies of his own at the fourth, fifth, eighth and ninth, he was cruising.
Garcia made one error all day, which came as he failed to get up and down from sand on the 17th, but his approach to the 424-yard last almost went in for eagle.
“I would like to thank not only my family and friends, but also my sponsors, everyone that's around me, for supporting me through two tough years,” he said.
“They have stuck with me and believed in me and I'm happy to be able to pay them back with this victory. At the beginning of the week there's always a little extra pressure because you want to do well in front of your home fans and on your home course. But I felt really good and it showed. Hopefully I can keep moving forward, but there are still some things I can improve on.”