Donald backs Garcia to bounce back
Luke Donald is trying for a first win in four years – but he has spared a thought for struggling Sergio Garcia.
Luke Donald’s main focus is on himself at the Madrid Masters this weekend as he tries for a first win in four years – but he has spared a thought for struggling Sergio Garcia.
While Donald reached halfway on 12 under par and one ahead of Welshman Rhys Davies the event has also seen Garcia miss his first cut on European soil since the 2004 Open at Troon.
It was only 14 months ago that the 30-year-old Spaniard had a chance to topple Tiger Woods from the world number one spot, but he is not in the top 30 now and a sixth Ryder Cup cap in October is hanging in the balance.
Donald played with Garcia the first two days in the Spanish capital and he also has a record of four wins out of four with him in Ryder Cup foursomes.
“I have no doubt he will be back,” said the world number 13. “He’s working hard with Pete Cowen (Lee Westwood’s coach) and his father and he seems more positive.
“This is a tough game – everybody has been through patches when they’ve struggled.
“It would seem strange to be at a Ryder Cup without Sergio. He has so much passion and the Ryder Cup can spur you on.
“I would love to have him there, but if he does not feel he can help I understand that view too.”
Garcia came into the tournament saying that he would decline a wild card if the decision had to be made.
Happily for him – and for cup captain Colin Montgomerie, who says Europe will be weaker without the player who has been an ever-present since his 1999 debut at the age of 19 – Garcia has three months to go in the qualifying race.
Donald is not in an automatic position yet either, but his runners-up finish at Wentworth last week boosted his hopes and he resumed today on course to make amends for double-bogeying the penultimate hole in the BMW PGA Championship.
His last victory came in America in 2006, but his last European Tour success was six years ago.
In his first full season on the circuit Davies won in Morocco in March and it was only a 17th hole bogey yesterday that stopped him sharing top spot on his 25th birthday.
“I was a little disappointed the way I finished – I thought I could have got the lead on my own, but all in all I’m not going to complain,” he said. “I’m right in with a shout.”
Compatriot Jamie Donaldson resumed two strokes further back in third and Ryder Cup Ulsterman Graeme McDowell was fourth overnight on eight under.
Garcia said: “Nobody likes to miss a cut, in front of your home crowd even more.
“It’s disappointing, but it is what it is. I’m just not playing well enough – it’s as simple as that.
“Hopefully it will turn around. It’s just a matter of seeing how long it will take. It’s hard because when you know your potential and you feel you can’t achieve it it’s difficult.”
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