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august 20, 2012 • 12:23 PM • last update 12:41 PM

Sergio Garcia wins first PGA title in four years

Foto: Getty Images
 

Sergio Garcia claimed a two-stroke victory Monday in the rain-delayed Wyndham Championship to earn his first PGA Tour victory since the 2008 Players Championship.

 Garcia finished with a 66 to wind up at 18-under 262 and claim $936,000 in prize money.

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.

Garcia began the decisive surge on the par-4 No. 13, plopping his chip roughly a foot from the flagstick and tapped 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 closer than 2 feet from the stick. He added a birdie on No. 17 to move to 19 under, leaving his bogey on the final hole inconsequential.

It was a bit of redemption for the 32-year-old Spaniard, who in his last appearance in Greensboro in 2009 held a share of the lead after three rounds but let it slip away and finished in fourth place.

This time, he finished strong to give a huge boost to his candidacy for a spot on the European Ryder Cup team. The 10 automatic qualifiers will be set following the Johnny Walker Invitational with Jose Maria Olazabal making two captain's picks.

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 Sedgefield course on 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 college golf 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.

Among the playoff hopefuls, Heath Slocum played his way into The Barclays. His final-round 71 left him at 7 under for the tournament and pushed him to No. 124. He came in at No. 128.

"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 victory, but he finished five strokes back and wound up at No. 2 to Tiger Woods. He came in at No. 3, the highest-ranked player in the standing.

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