Father-to-be Gar­cia eyes big fin­ish to dream year

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport - By James Cor­ri­gan

Ser­gio Gar­cia has an­nounced he will be­come a father be­fore next year’s Mas­ters de­fence. And to cel­e­brate, he in­tends to pre­vail in the race of the Spa­niards to em­u­late Seve Balles­teros in win­ning the Euro­pean Tour’s or­der of merit.

Gar­cia, 37, who fi­nally won his first ma­jor at Au­gusta in April, mar­ried Angela Akins later the same month and yes­ter­day re­vealed that she is due to give birth in March. With­out doubt it has been the best year of his life.

“It’s been an in­cred­i­ble year,” Gar­cia said, be­fore out­lin­ing how he planned to throw a bit more tin­sel on it be­fore he em­barks on his off-sea­son.

Balles­teros is the only Span­ish player ever to lift the Harry Var­don Tro­phy and Jon Rahm, the 22-yearold, has sig­nalled his am­bi­tion to beat Gar­cia to the hon­our.

How­ever, the veteran is ready for the chal­lenge, start­ing at the Ital­ian Open in Mi­lan to­day. “It’s a great field here and I’m very hope­ful of achiev­ing a good per­for­mance to try to catch Tommy [Fleet­wood],” he said. “It would cap an amaz­ing sea­son for me to follow Seve and win the Race to Dubai.”

Gar­cia is just over a mil­lion points be­hind English­man Fleet­wood but with the Ital­ian Open be­ing up­graded to a $7 mil­lion (£5.3 mil­lion) Rolex Se­ries event, he knows that the €990,000 (£887,000) first prize could go a long way to breach­ing the gap with five events to go.

Fleet­wood, who be­came a father two weeks ago, is also play­ing in Monza, but so, too, is Rahm, who wants the ul­ti­mate prize to claim national brag­ging rights.

“It be­came a goal of mine after win­ning the Ir­ish Open [In July],” said Rahm, who is only 30,000 points be­hind Gar­cia in third. “Be­fore that, I wasn’t re­ally any­where in the Race to Dubai.

“I re­ally be­came con­scious of the fact that I could win it then, es­pe­cially once I learned that no­body since Seve in Spain has won it. It is now a huge goal.”

In the hunt: Ser­gio Gar­cia hopes to close the gap in the Race to Dubai

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