European Tour

Garcia geared up for Spanish Open homecoming

Sergio Garcia (Getty Images)
Sergio Garcia (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Spaniard Sergio Garcia prepares to tee it up in his national Open for the first time since 2016 this week at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid.

The 39-year-old is making his first appearance since returning to the winner's circle last month at the KLM Open, where he secured his 16th European Tour title and his fifth victory in a two-and-a-half year span.

Winner of the Spanish Open in 2002, Garcia hopes to channel happy memories both from this tournament and playing in his home country, where he has won seven times in his 20-year professional career.

"It's good to be a part of this event again - '16 was the last time I played, at Valderrama. It's a tournament I've won in the past, and I would love to renew that feeling here. It should be good fun here in Madrid," said Garcia.

"I did have a really nice week in Amsterdam a few weeks back. I'm excited to keep that momentum going. My game feels pretty good and hopefully we can have a great week."

He is joined in the Spanish capital this week by fellow countryman Rafa Cabrera Bello, who is searching for a first professional win on home soil.

Cabrera Bello made his first appearance in this event as an amateur the same year that Garcia triumphed, finishing in a share of fourth place.

"I've played this tournament a lot and only had two top tens, it hasn't been my best event. But that can change in a week. I feel more mature now and can deal with pressure or expectation much better these days. Hopefully this year, with the way my game is at the moment, I can put on a good performance," said Cabrera Bello.

The Open de Espana returns to Club de Campo Villa de Madrid for the first time since 1996 when Padraig Harrington won his first European Tour event.

It is also the same venue where the late, great Seve Ballesteros won his 50th and final title on the European Tour the year prior.

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