Garcia’s first victory came in May of 2001 at the Colonial Invitational at Fort Worth. He was only a few months past age 21 and already been viewed as a potential challenger to Tiger Woods.
That year’s Colonial featured a strong field. Phil Mickelson was in it, as were Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk and David Duval, all first-level stars of the era. Mickelson and Furyk jumped right to the early lead with Thursday 65s, Garcia lurking four shots behind.
Another 69 on Friday left Garcia five behind Mickelson and Brett Quigley, and his Saturday 66 only moved him into a tie for sixth at 204, still five behind co-leaders Mickelson and Quigley
He came to Sunday knowing he had to go very low, “probably 63 or 62,” he said afterward. That’s what he did. Storming to a front nine 29, he fashioned a tournament-low round of 63 to beat out Mickelson and Brian Gay (who shot 65 on Sunday) and win by two strokes. He became the youngest Colonial champion in history, and the first European winner. He won $720,000.
His four-round score of 267, 13 under par, was 2.29 standard deviations better than the four-round field average, making Garcia’s first win also the fourth most dominant of his entire career.