What. A. Shot.
After his final round on Sunday at the Sanderson Farms Championship, Sergio Garcia was asked about the shot of the tournament, his 8-iron into the final green that settled less than three feet from the hole, all but sealing his win. Garcia smiled and brought up a fond memory.
“Funny enough, my last win — well, my last win on the PGA Tour — was at Augusta, with that 8-iron on 15,” he said, referencing the glistening approach he hit into the par-5 15th at the 2017 Masters. “This time it was the 8-iron on 18, and to almost hit the pin again and to hit it that close, obviously it was a dream come true.”
Garcia shared the lead entering the final round at the 2020 Sanderson Farms Championship. He lost the lead for much of the final round, but clawed his way back into a share of the lead heading to the 72nd hole, which had yielded just four birdies all Sunday. But he walked off the final green with a one-shot victory, thanks to that 8-iron, plus a steely short putt.
Peter Malnati, who had been waiting with the clubhouse lead for some 90 minutes after posting 9-under 63, could only laugh as he saw the approach shot from the driving range.
Garcia was well aware just how good a birdie he’d made.
“It’s not an easy hole,” he said. “It’s 500 yards, and you have to hit a great drive. The pin was a good pin on the right side, and if you miss it a little bit right, it’s a very tricky up-and-down. To be able to stand there and hit the kind of 8-iron that I did and then hit the putt that I did, even though it was only two and a half feet or something like that, you still have to gather yourself and trust yourself and do it. So that was really nice.”
The finishing birdie sealed a Sunday 67 for Garcia, who had hit another spectacular approach just a few holes earlier, when he set up a tap-in eagle at No. 15.
Even though Garcia hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since that 2017 Masters, he has won each of the last two years on the European Tour. As a result, he and Justin Rose have each now have a worldwide win in each of the last 10 years, the longest such streaks in the world.
Immediately after his win, Garcia was emotional in a Golf Channel interview in which he mentioned that he’d dedicated his week’s play to his family. “It’s been tough because I lost two uncles to Covid, so it’s been tough on my dad — so this one was for him,” he said.
“Unfortunately my father has a lot of family in Madrid. He’s one of nine siblings, and unfortunately we lost two of his brothers because of Covid, one at the beginning, Uncle Paco, and one just last Saturday actually, not yesterday but the Saturday before, Uncle Angel. You know, it’s sad. It’s sad. And I know that a lot of families have lost a lot more people, but you never want to lose anyone like that, and I wanted to win this for them.”
The win was Garcia’s 11th on the PGA Tour.