LIVE! THE MASTERS

Sergio Garcia ready to end major drought

Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia. Masters champion. It’s obviously not as ridiculous as it sounds.

But, with Garcia, it seems anything is possible.

The Spaniard, now 37 years of age, has 28 major top-tens to his credit, but zero wins.

The blame has often been tied to his putter, a facet of his game he has never quite mastered, but at times his head has also got in the way of taking that next step, too.

Remember the time he said he wasn’t good enough to win a major?

Or the time he said he was struggling because he had a broken heart?

This year, without tempting fate, there seems to be something fishy about Sergio. He looks happier - probably down to his engagement to Angela Akins – and now he sounds like he’s ready, and willing, to take that next step.

He also said the days of walking the golf course frustrated might be over.

“Yeah, I was frustrated,” he said. “I probably didn’t accept things as well as I should have. And I’ve shown myself many times after that I can contend - and I truly feel like I can win, not only one, but more than one.”

And if he does win on Sunday, he’ll have a green jacket draped over him on what would have been the late Seve Ballesteros’ 60th birthday.

As he looks inward, Garcia says he’s trying to accept the bad breaks the game has dealt him through the years.

“I think that I'm a little bit calmer now,” he said on his first visit to the new media centre at Augusta National. “I think that I'm working on trying to accept things, like I said, which can happen here and can happen anywhere. It's part of golf. It's not easy. It's much easier to say than to do it.

“But that's the challenge we always have, making sure that you accept the bad breaks with the good ones, and kind of move on.

“I feel so fortunate that I’ve been able to be healthy and play so many majors in a row. I don’t even know how many there are, but so many majors in a row and giving myself a lot of chances to win them. That for me is already a win, and then, you know, we can put the cherry on top, that would be even better.”

Garcia will tee off in the last group alongside American Charley Hoffman, whose three-over 75 was enough to keep a share of the lead alongside Thomas Pieters, who shot a second-round 68 on his Masters debut, and Rickie Fowler, who shares the lead in a major going into the weekend for the first time.

GOING UP

Phil Mickelson Level

Just ridiculous. Came into Augusta with no form – admitted he wasn’t that bothered, either. Opened with a bogey. Had no right to make par on 15, but did anyway, and just generally didn’t look 46 years old.

Thomas Pieters -4

Hadn’t played the course until Monday. “It’s just another golf course,” he said. True. And he’s joint leader going into the weekend after shooting 68, the second lowest round of the week. A Masters victory will officially add his name to the list of famous Belgians.

Rickie Fowler -4

Made a costly bogey at 15 when he should have been looking at picking up a shot, then birdied 16 to join the lead again. Missed the cut last year. Takes the lead in a major into Saturday for the first time. “I’m in a good spot.”

Freddie Couples -1

“It’s my favourite spot in the whole world.” It shows. Couples knows exactly where to put the ball into Augusta’s greens, and said he putted superbly. He says he’s going to need to do it all again “to hang” with the field. “I’ll have to play unbelievable golf (to win).”

GOING HOME

Russell Knox +8

Two 76s is never going to be good enough at Augusta National. The Scot has now played two Masters and missed the cut both times. Some players take time to warm to Augusta, and Knox has learned how easy it is to slip up. One of the world’s best players, he’ll be back.

Danny Willett +7

Played the first hole in a combined six-over during the two days of his defence, which didn’t help. First reigning champion to miss the cut since 2004. Noisy brother penned yet another article, this time in the Daily Telegraph, during another big week for his brother. It’s time Danny told PJ to give up the chase for fame and leave it to him.

Rafa Cabrera-Bello +8

A disappointing showing from a player who promised so much after an unbelievable shift at Hazeltine in the Ryder Cup. Made ten bogeys over the two days, which is just too much.  

Patrick Reed +9

His terrible record in majors continues. Just bizarre.

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