DOHA (Reuters) - Britain’s Chris Wood was beginning to wonder if he would ever end his title drought before he finally made the breakthrough in the Qatar Masters at the weekend.
It was a case of third time lucky for the 6-foot-5 (1.96-metre) Wood after he had twice previously gone into the closing day of a European Tour event at the summit of the leaderboard only to slip down the field in the final round.
The 25-year-old had also amassed 19 top-10 finishes without once entering the winner’s circle.
“I was starting to have little doubts that I would ever win,” Wood told reporters after climbing into the top 60 of the world rankings from number 142.
“But I have a load of good people and good friends around me - they see me playing at home and know full well that I‘m good enough to win. Until you do it though, the doubt is in the back of your mind.”
Wood, who finished in the top five at the British Open in 2008 and 2009, delivered a majestic coup de grace on the last hole in Doha on Saturday.
The Englishman needed an eagle three to pip Spain’s Sergio Garcia and George Coetzee of South Africa for the title and he produced a sumptuous six-iron from 202 yards before coaxing in his putt from 12 feet.
”I couldn’t really feel my hands at the time,“ said the Qatar champion, who shares the distinction with Swede Robert Karlsson of being the tallest players on the tour. ”It was one chance and I knew that was all I was going to get.
“Four years of frustration of not winning and it all came out a bit after the putt,” added Wood, referring to his emotional punch of the air as the ball disappeared into the cup.
He said former world number one Tiger Woods was the inspiration behind his six-iron approach.
“I remember watching Tiger hit a shot a few years ago on the 18th hole, an eight-iron to six feet,” Wood explained after picking up the first prize of 310,917 euros.
”His attitude was, ‘I‘m going to win this tournament whatever happens’. That is one of his massive strengths.
“I had that in the back of my mind, to just let my swing go and no matter how it feels, trust it, commit to it and I hit a really good shot,” said Wood.
“I didn’t know the situation before that and only looked at the leaderboard for the first time before the putt at the last.”
Wood now moves on to this week’s Dubai Classic, the final event of the tour’s three-tournament ‘Desert Swing’ that will feature the first competitive outing of the season from world number seven Lee Westwood.
“This win has definitely opened the door to a few more things for me and now I can set a couple of different targets for the next few months,” said Wood.
Writing by Tony Jimenez in London, editing by Mark Meadows