Garcia confident of victory

Garcia confident of victory

Sergio Garcia believes he is edging closes to an overdue tournament victory after carding a six-under-par 66 to take the lead at the end of the first round of the Players Championship on Thursday.

The 28-year-old, who has not won anywhere in the world in nearly three years, has always played by feel, which is why he is trying not to get too tied up in mechanics with his new short game instructor, Stan Utley.

"I seem to be driving the ball better than I have the past year or so," he said. "But more than anything, the most important thing is not that my short game looks good, but that it feels good, because at the end of the day, what you need is to feel it, and I'm starting to feel it.

"Even if I had won last week, I would still be as motivated, trying to win this week, so that doesn't change.

"At the end of the day, the only thing I can do is keep working on it, keep giving myself chances, and it's going to happen. I feel like it's getting closer and closer. At least now I feel I can do it."

Garcia, who finished a back door runner-up behind Phil Mickelson last year when American Sean O'Hair stumbled down the stretch, opened a two-stroke lead over Americans Paul Goydos and Kenny Perry.

Goydos was among 19 players who put a total of 20 balls into the water at the famous par-3 17th, but that was one of the few blemishes on his card.

Ian Poulter headed the British contingent on three-under 69, but it is worth noting that five of the seven British players had late tee times, and therefore endured the worst of the weather.

No fewer than 26 players broke par among the morning half of the field, compared to only eight players in the afternoon.

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