Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Garcia to redeem himself

The Spaniard held the lead after each of the first three rounds at Carnoustie and was three shots ahead of Steve Stricker at the start of the final day, but was beaten in a play-off by Irishman Padraig Harrington.

He only needed to par the 18th for victory, but failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker, giving him a final-round score of 73.

That capitulation further enhanced Garcia's growing reputation as the best player never to win a major - he has 13 top-10 finishes in majors but has never triumphed.

The Spaniard though feels this could be his year.

"My preparations have been going very well and I'm feeling good," Garcia told PA Sport.

"It's going to be tough because it's a difficult course and it's extremely windy but I'm hopeful. I'm in good shape and I think I can win."

Asked if he believes he can banish the memories of last year's failure and clinch the Claret Jug this time around, Garcia replied: "Sure, I think I can go one better this time."

The 28-year-old proved he has bounced back from the heartache 12 months ago by winning the Players Championship - the unofficial fifth major - in May, beating American Paul Goydos in another play-off.

And victory at Birkdale could complete a stunning summer for Spain.

With Rafael Nadal conquering Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final and Spain finally banishing their underachievers tag to win Euro 2008, Garcia could complete an impressive treble.

"I have been watching my fellow Spaniards this year and we have done so well," added Garcia, who is a close friend of Nadal and was at SW19 to watch his progress.

"If I could win too, that would be great for me and my country."

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