Sergio Garcia seeks to continue love affair with Valderrama in Andalucia Masters

Sergio Garcia at Valderrama
Sergio Garcia at Valderrama

Two weeks after describing his own game as "horrible", Sergio Garcia will aim to continue his remarkable love affair with Valderrama when his foundation hosts the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters.

Garcia is seeking a fourth straight win in the event, first claiming the title in 2011 before it dropped off the European Tour schedule for five years and then winning in both 2017 and 2018 when bad weather meant a 54-hole event and a Monday finish.

In total Garcia has recorded 13 top-10 finishes in 14 appearances at Valderrama, but comes into the week on a downbeat note after missing the cut in three of his last four starts to slip outside the world's top 30.

On the one occasion Garcia did play all four rounds he opened with a 69 in the US Open but dismissed his chances of winning at Pebble Beach and said his round mixed good shots with ones where he "looked like a 25-handicapper."

A second round of 70 left Garcia just outside the top 10 at halfway, but the 39-year-old carded rounds of 75 and 74 at the weekend to finish 52nd, the first time he had made the cut in a major since the 2017 Open.

"Coming back to Spain is always special but to come back to Valderrama, my favourite golf course where I have done so well, it's really really something else," Garcia said. "I'm excited about it, excited about the week, excited about the tournament.

"It's true that I haven't won this year, but I wouldn't call it a bad year. I have played some good tournaments, but my sensations have not been consistently good. I am looking to recover my good sensations for the rest of the season and this week could be the turning point.

"Valderrama is a good course for me because I can see the shots, and that helps immensely. When you see many options, doubts start to creep in. I have always felt comfortable on this course because I see the shots clearly.

"Every course is different and that's the beauty of golf. Some courses where others play well can be less clear for me, it's a very personal matter."

Garcia was 12 under par in winning by four shots from Ireland's Shane Lowry last year, despite playing only three rounds, but expects a far tougher test 12 months on.

"It looks like this year is going to be totally different so we're excited to see how the course is going to play with good weather," Garcia added.

"It looks amazing, it's getting quite firm so it's going to be very challenging.

"The course is playing totally different than it has the past few years. There'll be some (good) scores because it doesn't look like it's going to be too windy but I would expect it to be around the five or six under par that usually wins here."

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