- Special Pages
by Armstrong Vas
Doha: England’s Chris Wood clinched his first European Tour title with an eagle on the final hole at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters here yesterday.
Wood started the last round at the Doha Golf Club with a three-shot lead but trailed South Africa’s George Coetzee and Spain’s Sergio Garcia by one after 17. Coetzee closed with a seven-under 65, while Garcia’s 66 kept the pressure on.
However, Wood kept his nerve to sink the putt to win by one shot.
“It’s a dream come true. There’s an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders. I feel like I can go on and win more. I knew it was going to be hard no matter how I played - winning on the European Tour is not easy,” said Wood, who punched the air in delight after his stunning win.
In the end, Garcia and Coetzee had to settle for joint-second.
“I couldn’t really feel my hands at the time. It was one chance and I knew that was all I was going to get. You don’t get many if you’re in a play-off,” said the 25-year-old.
“Four years of frustration of not winning and it all came out a bit after the putt,” said Wood, whose other interests include mountain biking, music and football.
Wood, who turned pro in 2008, said his first pro title win at the Thailand Open last August prepared him mentally for the tough task in Qatar.
The towering six foot five inches Englishman, one of the few tall players on the Tour, admitted that he drew inspiration from 14-time Major winner Tiger Woods.
“After that tee shot, it was such a good yardage for me and my caddie told me to go straight at it and that told me I needed an eagle to win,” said Wood.
“Before I hit the approach, I remember watching Tiger hit a shot at a tournament a few years ago on 18, an eight‑iron to six feet and that was for his first win in a couple of years after he struggled. I watched quite a bit of that, and although he didn’t play his best, his attitude was, I’m going to win this tournament whatever happens. That’s one of his massive strengths,” he said, explaining his aggressive approach shot on the last hole. Englishman Steve Webster (68) and Sweden’s Alexander Noren (71) shared fourth at 13-under, one ahead of English duo Simon Khan (72) and Anthony Wall (69), and South African Branden Grace (71).
American star Jason Dufner (69), the world No. 11, and Ryder Cup hero Martin Kaymer were among a large group tied for ninth at 11-under. The Peninsula