Date: January 26, 2014
Author: Sportal, Omnisport

Garcia beats Ilonen to Qatar Masters title

Sergio Garcia overcame Mikko Ilonen in an enthralling play-off to win the Qatar Masters on Saturday.

Both Garcia and Ilonen ended the final round at 16 under par overall, the Finn sinking a birdie on the 18th to draw level with the Spaniard and force extra holes.

But it was Garcia, who finished one shot behind England's Chris Wood in last year's tournament, who showed the greater poise in the play-off to claim victory.

The third extra hole ultimately proved decisive, Garcia tapping in for birdie following a long eagle attempt, while Ilonen could only save par after finding the greenside bunker on his approach.

Garcia began the day three shots adrift of overnight leaders Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Steve Webster, but produced a faultless performance on the final day.

However, Garcia missed a chance to secure outright victory over the regulation holes on the 18th by failing with a birdie putt from eight feet.

Ilonen's hopes looked to have been ended with a bogey on the 13th, but the world number 91 quickly recovered by gaining shots holes 14 and 16 before sinking the crucial birdie on the last.

The duo returned to the 18th for the opening play-off hole, with both players successfully putting for birdie.

Ilonen then missed a 20-foot putt for eagle on a second visit to the last as Garcia again birdied despite finding the bunker.

And the Scandinavian could only curse his misfortune as he hit into the same bunker on his next approach, allowing Garcia to seal the 11th European Tour win of his career.

"It feels good," Garcia said.

"The up and down from the bunker in the play-off was key and I'm very happy to be able to win it."

Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen finished a shot behind and tied for third with Cabrera-Bello at 15 under, a bogey at the 17th effectively ending Olesen's chances.

Alejandro Canizares, George Coetzee and Thomas Aiken all finished on 14 under, along with Englishman Webster, who could only shoot a two-under 70 on a disappointing day.