Sergio Garcia sets sights on European Tour top spot

Newcastle (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


Masters champion Sergio Garcia has returned to the European Tour fuelled by his bid to join Seve Ballesteros as only the second Spaniard to be crowned European number one.

Garcia tees up in this week's British Masters in the first of his four remaining events on the 2017 Tour schedule.

The newly-married Garcia is currently lying second and 971,868 points behind England's Tommy Fleetwood, who has elected to miss the event to be with his partner for the birth of the couple?s first child.

A Garcia victory in the event would bridge the gap to just 400,000 points.

Garcia has confirmed he is also contesting the Italian Open in October, hosting his Andalucia Valderrama Masters later that month, and the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in November.

"The goals are pretty much the same as always and just keep building on that confidence, keep improving, keep getting better," said Garcia.

"Play the best I can and you know, hopefully if my best is at a good level, where I know that I can play, then I'm going to be up there with chances of winning.

"If not, we'll fight to finish the best way possible. Obviously the Race to Dubai is still up for grabs, and it would be nice to have a solid chance when we get to Dubai."

The late Ballesteros won the European number one crown six times (1976-78, 1986, 1988 and 1991).

However, since winning the Dubai Desert Classic in February, then the Masters in April and June's BMW International Open, Garcia has struggled to maintain that winning form.

His best finish and Garcia's only top-10 since June was a tie for 10th last Sunday in the Tour Championship at East Lake.

"I'm not going to lie, after the Masters, a little bit of a downer for a couple of months," he said.

"But the last two or three weeks, they have been positive. I've seen some really good things in my game coming along.

"So, I'm excited about that. Excited to keep the run that I had the last couple of weeks this week here, and hopefully have a really good week and have a solid chance at winning here will be amazing."

Garcia will end his major-winning season teeing up for a first time in both the Hong Kong Open and the Australian Masters.