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Garcia sees off the rain to secure a Ryder Cup berth

updated 6:06 AM EDT, Tue August 21, 2012
Sergio Garcia takes hold of the Sam Snead Cup following his first win at a PGA Tour event since 2008.
Sergio Garcia takes hold of the Sam Snead Cup following his first win at a PGA Tour event since 2008.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Spanish golfer is guaranteed a place in the European team to play at Medinah, Illinois
  • The 2008 Players Championship was the last time Garcia had won in the US before today
  • South African Tim Clark shared the lead at one stage but finished two shots behind
  • Rain forced an extra day's play for 38 golfers at final round of the Wyndham Championship

(CNN) -- Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia captured his first U.S. PGA Tour title in four years on Monday, earning himself a place in Europe's team for next month's Ryder Cup.

He overcame a rain delay which put a halt to Sunday's play to win the Wyndham Championship, beating South African Tim Clark by two strokes in Greensboro, North Carolina.

A victory was essential to push the 32-year-old into the top-10 ranked European players who automatically qualify for the team to face the United States. He now stands in sixth place and cannot be pushed out of those spots.

Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell, Paul Lawrie, Francesco Molinari, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Peter Hanson were already in the team to travel to Medinah at the end of September.

European team captain Jose Maria Olazabal also has two wildcard picks for the tournament, with Ian Poulter expected to take one of those places.

Olazabal ready to lead Ryder Cup team
Rory McIlroy kisses his prize after winning the 94th PGA Championship on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina on Sunday, August 12. See how the action unfolded here. Rory McIlroy kisses his prize after winning the 94th PGA Championship on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina on Sunday, August 12. See how the action unfolded here.
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Webb Simpson of the United States holds the U.S. Open trophy after his one-stroke victory in San Francisco on Sunday, June 17. Simpson finished the four-day event at one shot over par to secure his first major title. Webb Simpson of the United States holds the U.S. Open trophy after his one-stroke victory in San Francisco on Sunday, June 17. Simpson finished the four-day event at one shot over par to secure his first major title.
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"We'll see when the team comes out, but I think my chances are a little better now," Garcia said.

Garcia was one of 38 players who had to return to the course to complete their final round on Monday.

He had a less than solid restart when a bogey dropped him into a tie with Clark, who was cheered on by a partisan local crowd who supported him because he once attended the local university.

But Garcia came back in style. He birdied four holes out of five to put some space between him and the field.

At the 13th hole it looked like he was on course for the victory. A chip to within a foot of the hole left him an easy put for another birdie.

An impressive bunker shot got him out of trouble and kept him on track for the win at the 15th.

Not even a bogey on the 18th could spoil the celebrations, even though it meant he had slipped a shot to card a final-round 66 for an 18-under-par total of 262.

Clark finished one shot clear of Bud Cauley in third, while there was a three-way tie for fourth between Americans Chad Campbell and Jimmy Walker and Sweden's Carl Petterson on 14 under.

Garcia's victory was his first on U.S. soil since he won the 2008 Players Championship, and eighth overall.

It also helped bury some ghosts of his previous visit to the Wyndham Championship in 2009, when he held a share of the third-round lead but eventually finished fourth.

It doubled his prize money this season on the PGA Tour to $1.8 million from 13 starts, and lifted him up 69 places to 33rd in the FedEx Cup standings ahead of this week's opening playoff event, The Barclays.

Clark also continued his climb, up to 54th from 109. The top 30 players qualify for the Tour Championship finale.

Jason Dufner finished the regular season second behind Tiger Woods after his seventh-placing at Greensboro, with PGA Championship winner Rory McIlroy third.

Garcia used a local caddy after parting with his usual bagman after this month's PGA Championship, where he missed the cut.

"Caddies are great, but sometimes I feel like I depend too much on them," Garcia said. "Instead of making a decision myself, I would wait for the caddy to make a decision for me and then maybe I don't feel comfortable with that and still try to do it.

"I wanted to start making decisions for myself, right and wrong. Not all my decisions were good this week. But at least I was pretty much 100% committed to most of my decisions, and that was nice to see."

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