The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

April 12, 2013

Now comes the hard part for Garcia: Doing it again



AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Sergio Garcia had an enjoyable day on a course that's never been one of his favorites.

The shots were true. The putter was steady. The score was good enough for the Masters lead.

Now comes the hard part: holding it together for another three days.

"We'll see what happens," Garcia said, sounding a bit apprehensive.

For the impetuous Spaniard, that's always been the conundrum. How can a golfer of such talent have gone this long without winning a major title? Why does he keep blowing it on golf's biggest stages?

Well, here he is again, sharing the top spot with Marc Leishman after a 6-under 66 Thursday, ripping up Augusta National with a performance that came with only one complaint: It could've been even better.

That it happened in the Masters was even more remarkable, considering this is the one major where Garcia has never been much of a factor.

"Obviously, it's not my most favorite place," he said. "We try to enjoy it as much as we can each time we come here. Sometimes it comes out better than others, but today is was one of those days. You know, let's enjoy it while it lasts."

In recent years, Garcia seemed resigned to the perception that time had passed him by — even at the relatively young age of 33.

Until Thursday, he had not led in any round of a major since the British Open at Carnoustie in 2007, when he set the pace the first three days but lost — of course — to Padraig Harrington in a playoff.

That was the latest in a series of bitter disappointments, of close-but-no-cigar calls in every major championship but the Masters, where he has only two top-10 finishes in his previous 14 appearances.

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