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Garcia hails 'amazing' fortnight as revival continues with Andalucia win

RORY McIlroy may have picked up the biggest cheque in golf, but it is Sergio Garcia who has the biggest smile after what he calls "two amazing weeks".

Hours after McIlroy beat American Anthony Kim in a play-off at the Shanghai Masters to collect a $2million (¤1.4m) first prize, Garcia was celebrating a second victory in eight days.

Given that he had gone almost three years without a title and took time out to rediscover his love for the game, the 31-year-old's revival is the best news possible for Europe ahead of the next Ryder Cup.

Garcia now leads the points race after adding the Andalucia Masters at Valderrama to his Castello Masters triumph, and he is back in the world's top 20 after tumbling from second to outside the top 75.

The two victories were achieved in very different ways.


On his home course he romped to an 11-shot win, but yesterday he edged out fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez by a single stroke after a delicate chip to three feet on the last.

"I'm out of words," he said. "I believed in my abilities and the chip was just amazing.

"I really thought it was going to go in. Obviously the wins are great, but the year's been very positive and that's what I'm most excited about.

"Ryder Cup years are always special for me, so hopefully I can make that team.

"I knew that I had the game because I had it before, but when your head is not in the right spot it doesn't matter how much game you have, your muscles won't listen."

Garcia was in the doldrums after Greg Norman's daughter Morgan-Leigh broke off their relationship, but he now has a new girlfriend and finally looks like his old self again.

His second victory had the added bonus of earning him the final spot in this week's HSBC Champions event in Shanghai.


Also with good reason to smile was Shane Lowry, who collected a €150,000 cheque and booked his place in the season-ending Dubai World Championship for his magnificent fourth-place finish at Valder-rama.

Lowry finished just three shots behind winner Garcia after a superb 67, which was the joint-lowest round of the day, despite missing a great chance for birdie on the 17th when he three putted.

Peter Lawrie carded a 70 to finish joint-15th for the tournament on four over.