Garcia primed for Italian bow
As Sergio Garcia readies himself for a first appearance in the Italian Open, he's hoping that Mediterranean vibes will allow him to flourish at Golf Club Milano in Monza.
The Spaniard has enjoyed a spectacular 2017 season which has included a first Major success (in the Masters) and marriage to his long-term girlfriend Angela Akins.
I've heard good things about the course, so I'm very excited to have a nice week.Sergio Garcia
He's now determined to complete the year in style and is seeking a first win on European soil since he completed back-to-back victories in Spain during late 2011.
"I've played many times in Italy as an amateur, but never as a professional," the 37-year-old said before the first round on the tree-lined venue. "I've heard good things about the course, so I'm very excited to have a nice week with amazing weather - it's all good.
"I haven't played here for a while, but we've always enjoyed coming back to Italy. I think it's very similar to Spain. My relationship with the Italian players is really good.
"The weather is very similar to Spain, food is very good like in Spain and even the looks of the towns is similar to where I grew up."
Garcia's Ryder Cup team-mate Lee Westwood is also in the field and acknowledges that the host course plays to the strengths of home favourite Francesco Molinari.
"It's right up Francesco's street," the 44-year-old argued. "So he'll take some beating having the home crowds behind him, but they've managed to get a lot of quality players here and the field is very strong in depth so it will be a tough tournament to win.
"The Italian Open is a trophy that's been going a long time and I think everybody on the European Tour would like to win it. I've never won it and it's high on my priorities. It feels like a big tournament."
Garcia is 16/1 to win the tournament outright, with Westwood 50/1 and Molinari 14/1.
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