Gar­cia re­dis­cov­ers old touch

New Straits Times - - Sport -

PONTE VEDRA BEACH: Mas­ters cham­pion Ser­gio Gar­cia re­cov­ered from a slow start and found his old form to storm into con­tention at The Play­ers Cham­pi­onship where a vic­tory could en­hance his spe­cial 2017 sea­son.

Gar­cia seized his long awaited Ma­jor ti­tle by win­ning the US Mas­ters last month and now has his eyes set on the PGA Tour’s flag­ship event where the Spa­niard is five-un­der and just four shots off the lead.

A 2008 Play­ers Cham­pi­onship win­ner and fre­quent con­tender in the tour­na­ment, Gar­cia en­tered yes­ter­day’s fi­nal round with new­found sta­tus to match his strong his­tory at TPC Saw­grass.

“I’ve told you guys many, many times it’s one of my fa­vorite golf cour­ses we play all year, and for some rea­son I can see what I want to do,” Gar­cia told re­porters.

“I just like the golf course. I’ve been for­tu­nate to be very suc­cess­ful here.”

Gar­cia’s week got off to a slow start when he bat­tled to a oneover 73 on Thurs­day, which fea­tured a hole-in-one on the is­land green par-3 17th hole.

He has since found his old form, cul­mi­nat­ing with Satur­day’s five­un­der 67 that vaulted him up the leader­board.

“I felt like a lit­tle bit in chains on Thurs­day be­cause of how over­whelm­ing ev­ery­thing has been,” Gar­cia said. “I was think­ing, ‘come on, you have to play well after win­ning the Mas­ters.’ I prob­a­bly put a lit­tle too much pres­sure on my­self.”

Gar­cia, 37, is still bask­ing in the glory that came with his Mas­ters tri­umph and has brought the Green Jacket with him to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Now he will at­tempt to cre­ate another mem­o­rable mo­ment and build on his grow­ing re­sume. With a win, Gar­cia would join Tiger Woods (2001) as the only player to win the Mas­ters and the Play­ers Cham­pi­onship in the same year.

“I’ve al­ways been con­fi­dent with my­self, al­ways be­lieved in the abil­ity that I have,” Gar­cia said. “I’m not go­ing to lie (though), it does help (my con­fi­dence) to win a Ma­jor.” Reuters

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