TGC Rewind: Sealed with a kiss

Tue 09 Dec 2014

TGC Rewind: Sealed with a kiss

  • SHARE
Sergio Garcia lived up to the old adage of being third time lucky at the Thailand Golf Championship and his charm was none other than girlfriend Katharina Boehm.
The swashbuckling Spaniard sealed a stylish four-shot victory in the star-laden US$1 million tournament with four rounds of glorious golf in the company of Boehm, who was caddying for him at Amata Spring Country Club.
The triumph gave Garcia a timely first win for 2013 and marked him out as an end-of-the-year specialist as he had also won the final tournament on the Asian Tour in 2012.
World number three Henrik Stenson, who conceded he was playing on gas fumes after a highly successful year where he won the Race to Dubai title in Europe and FedExCup in the United States, finished second and failed to prevent Garcia from running away with the tournament.
“It was great, an amazing week …. obviously being the last week of the year and for having Katharina caddie for me,” said the 33-year-old Garcia, who shot 68, 65, 65 and 68 for a 22-under-par 266 winning aggregate.
“I knew Henrik was going to make it difficult for me. He's been playing so amazingly great, and he did. He kept hitting good shot after good shot.”
After finishing tied 24th in the inaugural edition in 2011, Garcia began to show his liking for the magnificent Amata Spring course with a fourth-place outing in 2012 and jumped at the opportunity of a third visit.
“They do a great job, even though the tournament is quite young. They take great care of us.  Bangkok is a really nice city to come and visit and get to know, and the tournament's been getting stronger and stronger every year,” said the Spaniard.
Indeed, eight players from the world’s top-50, including third-ranked Stenson and world number four Justin Rose, were on parade alongside the Asian Tour’s finest stars.
With Boehm on his side, Garcia kicked into contention during a second round 65 where a hole-in-one on the eighth hole, his career third in tournament play, propelled him into the joint halfway lead. Another 65 in day three saw him open up a four-shot lead but Stenson reduced the advantage by the turn on Sunday.
The Spaniard found his fifth gear soon enough, shooting birdies on 10, 11 and 12 to pull ahead again which ended Stenson’s challenge. “I made three very important birdies on the first three on the back nine and gave myself a little bit of a cushion,” said Garcia, who earned US$180,000.
Stenson, making his debut at the Thailand Golf Championship, hung out with Garcia and Boehm for much of the week, enjoying dinners in the city but found no favours from the winner as he settled for second place.
“I've had a great year but coming here really on the fumes left in the tank, not too much going for me to perform in that sense. But I played really nicely in the third round and I was hanging in there and I was just coming up a couple short,” said the Swede.
Frenchman Alexander Levy carded a closing 69 to finish third while India’s Anirban Lahiri emerged as the joint best Asian performer by sharing fourth place with Japan’s Yuki Kono. Playing in the last group with Garcia and Stenson, Lahiri was disappointed he did not take advantage of a strong start to finish nine shots back.
“It was a disappointing round. I don't think I was as focused as I needed to be on the greens. I missed a lot of putts, especially on the back nine. I couldn't get any momentum. Any time I hit a good shot, I would miss the putt,” lamented Lahiri.
The Setting
The Amata Spring Country Club is amongst the most highly rated and prestigious golf courses in Asia, thanks largely to a challenging championship layout and its year-long pristine conditions.
The exclusive private country club provides members with the best club experience unmatched anywhere in the country and is unique due to its floating island green on the par three 17th hole which is the club’s signature hole.
After teeing off, players need to take a boat ride onto the island green to complete the hole, which is one of the most memorable experiences found on the golf course.