Sergio Garcia didn’t have to sweat much over the final shot that clinched the Sanderson Farms Championship, his first PGA Tour triumph since the 2017 Masters. It was only 2 feet 6 inches in length, barely more than a tap-in after the Spaniard hit the shot of the tournament from the final fairway.
But just like with the other putts he stroked this week, Garcia wasn’t watching when he rolled in one last birdie putt to close out a final-round 67 to edge Peter Malnati by a shot at the Country Club of Jackson.
“Well, I guess eyes closed is probably normal for me now,” Garcia said. “I realized that I get too caught up in trying to make it too perfect instead of just letting myself do it. You don’t have to hit a perfect putt every time to be able to make it.”
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Garcia, 40, has been one of the more cerebral players on Tour for more than two decades.
But even after opening with a share of the 54-hole lead in Mississippi, it didn’t appear likely coming down the stretch that he’d be able to add to his trophy haul this week.
Garcia played his first 13 holes in 2 under, a solid score for a co-leader but not good enough to keep pace with Malnati, the 2015 champion who blistered the course with a closing 63.
There were few signs entering this week that self-trust would amount to much for Garcia, who was making his first-ever Sanderson presence.
He had missed three of his last four cuts, including each of the first two majors this year, and had dropped out of the top 50 in the world rankings for the first time since 2011. In nine starts since the break, he had ended better than T-32 just once – a T-5 finish at the RBC Heritage in June.
Asked if he had become frustrated by media asking him what’s wrong with his game, Garcia shed some perspective on his recent drought. “I really wasn’t that frustrated,” he stated, “because nobody was really talking to me.”
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