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Sunday, 23 September 2018
Sergio Garcia  (Getty Images)
Sergio Garcia (Getty Images)
Sergio Garcia carded a closing 65 to secure a top ten finish at the Portugal Masters and immediately turned his attention to Paris and helping Europe regain the Ryder Cup.

The Spaniard was handed a Captain's Pick by Thomas Bjørn and revealed coming into this week that he had promised the Dane that he would play competitively before the biennial spectacular.

Garcia enjoyed a consistent week at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, registering rounds of 66-70-68 before Sunday's bogey-free effort that started with an eagle two and contained four further birdies.

“The dream start,” he said. “I hit an amazing wedge that bounced five inches behind the hole and went in. That was great.

“I played well all day. Gave myself a lot of birdie chances. Unfortunately the putts didn't seem to want to drop until the last one but it was a positive week and now we head on to Paris. Just got to change the mentality and try to help the Team as much as possible.

“I felt like I played quite nicely. I drove the ball well, I hit some really good iron shots, some nice putts - unfortunately not many dropped. Overall it was very positive and now we head on to Paris to try to win that Cup back.”

Bjørn went for experience with his Picks, selecting Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson along with Garcia to play in a Team that contains five rookies.

Garcia will be playing in his ninth Ryder Cup at Le Golf National with the chance to become Europe's all-time top points scorer, and he is eager to pass all that experience on to first-timers Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Alex Noren, Thorbjørn Olesen and Jon Rahm.

“We will help the rookies, it's our duty and we will,” he said. “We will make them feel as comfortable as possible.

“It's still going to be nerve-racking because it always is. It's a good thing that it's in Europe because the atmosphere is a little easier for us. I think they're going to love it. That's the most important thing and we're all excited about it."

Olesen also completed his preparations on the Algarve, carding his lowest round of the week on Sunday with a 67 that got him to 12 under.

“I feel a a lot better after today's round,” he said. “I hit my irons a lot better, I struggled a little bit the first three days. I definitely got some confidence out there.

“I'd had two weeks off and I had a week without golf - went on a little holiday - so it was very important for me to get back into, first practice and then get out here and compete again. All in all it's been a good week.”

Olesen will head home to London on Sunday before heading to Paris on Monday and he was happy to admit he will be taking the advice of Garcia and the other six previous Ryder Cup players - completed by Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari and Justin Rose - on board.

“Be open and just speak your mind and ask people for their opinion and don't be afraid of asking some of the guys that have been out there for so long and played so many Ryder Cups,” he said.

“There's a lot in the Team and there's a lot like Thomas and the Vice Captains also so I think that's the best advice: not to be scared or afraid and just ask the questions.

“I'm pretty calm now, I've been concentrating on playing and getting back into it. I think I'll realise when I get there tomorrow and get into the team room and see all the other guys, that's when it hits you and you realise what it's all about.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LEWIS, TomENG18-22
T2PEPPERELL, EddieENG18-19
T2HERBERT, LucasAUS18-19
T4LEE, SoominKOR18-17
T4KINHULT, MarcusSWE18-17
6LOWRY, ShaneIRL18-16

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