The Castellón golfer achieves his first victory on the American circuit since the 2017 Masters

It was the last hole The last putt If he did Sergio García would win the Sanderson Farm Championship this Sunday at age 40

It would be his first victory on the American circuit since the 2017 Augusta Masters the great one that was both the culmination of a great career and the beginning of a dark age in his game

It would be his 36th professional victory eleventh on the PGA Tour Garcia then closed his eyes to kick More than looking at the ball he felt it It was a puttshort simple

It was in his mind as much as in his hands Without looking he hit the ball When he looked again he was already inside As he had done throughout the tournament and they had discovered the cameras in an unusual image that of a golfer kicking with his eyes closed

Although as explained by the player from Castellón it is a technique that he has been using for a long time and one that he has now clung to again in addition to a productive putter change to resurface after a time of bad results and bad feelings above all with the short game

The important thing was to continue believing said an emotional Sergio García almost in tears remembering two relatives who died from coronavirus his uncles Paco and Ángel the last one eight days ago and after that redemptive victory that so much suffering left behind

He won with 19 an advantage over the American Peter Malnati a triumph to dedicate to his children Azalea and Enzo the little one that Sergios parents have not yet been able to meet due to the health situation I had been around for three or four months but things didnt want to go out I knew I was there with possibilities and I had to find that little keyboard explained the Spaniard about his success

A click that he finally achieved and that reminded that fabulous golfer who won the 2017 Mastersjust as Augusta prepares to reopen its doors next month November 1215 and with no public And I have even found myself now with better feelings hitting the ball than when I won the Masters with more confidence

It has possibly been my best week mentally since then calm I am very proud of myself he commented His eagle on the final day at the parafive on the 14th hole and a second hit on the 18th to leave the birdie almost given were the signature of his victory this Sunday

The triumph returns the Spaniard among the 50 best golfers in the world he is 38th a group from which he had left just last week for the first time in nine years and allows him to record several more notches in his record

He is the second player in history to have professional victories before his 20th birthday during his 20s 30s and now 40s Henry Cooper did it between 1923 and 1955 Enter the select club of golfers with triumphs in four different decades And he has signed up at least one tournament per course in the last 10 years a mark he shares with Justin Rose

This is how Sergio García explained his tactic of kicking with his eyes closed to focus more on having the best feeling when hitting the ball than on obsessing over the line he has to follow to the hole I feel like it helps me and thats why I do it Ive been kicking with my eyes closed for almost four years

I have not always done it but I have done it many times At Augusta National when I won the Masters in 2017 I closed my eyes before kicking every single puttthat I threw And I have done it in other victories that I have achieved afterwards

I would say that in the last four years I have kicked with my eyes closed 75 percent of the days I started doing it in practice and the feeling was very good It helps me to feel more freedom when kicking and to focus above all on the hit of the ball and not so much on where it is going to go the hole following the ball with my eyes

It is a way to let my natural ability appear more to kick and not be thinking about what I have to do to make the puttbe good I would love to kick with my eyes open but doing so my punching is more consistent and I forget more about the rest I have tried to kick with my eyes open several times for example at the US Open but it is clearly not working well

The goal is to be comfortable I stop doing it when I think I have it under control and I come back when I see that it does not work correctly with my eyes open

The image of Sergio García kicking with his eyes closed has reminded that of Michael Jordan taking a free kick also without looking It was on November 23 1991 in a Bulls game against the Denver Nuggets in which a rookie named Dikembe Mutombo was playing

In the middle of his pike Mutombo challenged him to shoot a second free throw with his eyes closed Jordan of course accepted Hey Mutombo this is for you he said He closed his eyes fired the shot and scored

By Wi Zi

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