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Golf News: - Posted 6th June 1998

Sergio Garcia fulfils dream by winning Amateur Championship

Muirfield, Scotland - Spanish teenager Sergio Garcia lived up to his tag as favourite by winning the 36-hole final of the Amateur Championship at rain-soaked Muirfield on Saturday.

He confidently saw off Welshman Craig Williams 7 and 6 to claim the blue riband title.

Four ahead at lunch, the 18-year-old from Castellon was never in danger after taking advantage of slip-ups by Williams at the first two holes to move six up.

The 20-year-old from the Creigiau club near Cardiff knew he had to start well in the afternoon to have any chance - but he produced exactly the opposite.

A careless pitch which whizzed past the pin at the 19th and a poor drive into cloying sand at the 20th cost him both holes, leaving him with an insurmountable mountain to climb.

Strict adherence to par saw Garcia maintain his six-hole lead as the pair turned into the back nine before another poor Williams drive into a fairway bunker at the tenth, their 28th hole, saw the gap widen to seven.

It was a question of when not if Garcia would win, and the answer came two holes later at the 380-yard 12th, courtesy of a half in par fours.

The door is now opened to a glittering array of invitations for the Spaniard, including this year's Open at Royal Birkdale, the Standard Life Loch Lomond on the Bonnie Banks and next April's US Masters.

Garcia admitted it had always been an ambition of his to win the Amateur Championship.

"Now I've done it my next dream is to win the Open," he said.

"This year? Well, I'll give it a try,"

Ironically, the Spaniard was actually behind in the early stages of the final when Williams rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt at the fourth hole in the morning round - but it was one of the few bright spots for the Welshman.

Careless golf saw him surrender five holes out of seven from the fifth to go four down, and that deficit remained until lunch. He might even have gone in to face his soup five down, but Garcia missed a six-footer for the hole at the 18th.

Disappointed Williams, who has still to win a full cap for Wales after suffering a bout of glandular fever before last year's Home Internationals, knew he had not given of his best.

He said: "I drove the ball into the rough far too much today, but whereas I could get it out earlier in the week today with it being so wet I couldn't and therefore didn't give myself a chance."