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Garcia buoyed by Players showing

Sergio Garcia tees it up at the Crowne Plaza Invitational today buoyed by a barnstorming finish at The Players and hoping to end his 30- month victory drought on the course where he chalked up the first of his seven PGA Tour victories 10 years ago.

There was more than a hint of the El Nino of old about his closing-round 65 at Sawgrass and he said: "I'm definitely hitting the ball better. Every aspect of my game has been improving and my putting is a little more consistent."

Garcia says he's starting to enjoy himself on the course once again after a spell in the doldrums stretching back to his last win at the HSBC Champions in China in November 2008.

Smyth sitting pretty at Spanish Open

Des Smyth surged straight into contention at the Oki Spanish Senior Open, as a first-round 68 at Murcia's El Valle Golf Resort lifted the Bettystown legend into a tie for seventh on three-under, just two shy of the leaders.

Jimmy Heggarty shared 15th after his opening 70. Q-School graduate Pat Errity marked his European Seniors Tour debut with a steady level-par 71, a score matched by fellow Delgany native Eamonn Darcy.

Dennis O'Sullivan shot 72 and Eddie Polland 75. Scotland's Bill Longmuir, Spaniard Jose Rivero, Aussie David Merriman and Bob Cameron of England shared the lead on 66.

Irish Independent