Thursday, 15 August 2013 04:18
GREENSBORO: Sergio Garcia, who snapped a long winless streak with a victory at the 2012 Wyndham Championship, is back to defend his title at the PGA Tour event starting Thursday.
The Spaniard birdied his final three holes to close out a four-under 66 and earn a two-shot win over Tim Clark for his first victory on the US tour since 2008. It was also his eighth title on the tour and it secured him a place in Europe's ultimately successful Ryder Cup team at Medinah.
"Awesome to be back here in Greensboro and to be able to defend my title," Garcia said. "Really excited about it. The course looks very nice."
This year's field, however, includes just five of the top 20 players in the FedExCup playoff rankings, but among them are ex-champions Brandt Snedeker and Bill Haas.
A host of Major winners in the field includes Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Padraig Harrington, Zach Johnson, Martin Kaymer and Webb Simpson.
Heavy rains on Sunday last year meant the tournament finished a day late.
The Sedgefield Country Club course has been hit with more rain this week ahead of Thursday's start but Garcia does not see that as a problem.
"It's been raining a little bit, but the greens look really, really good," Garcia said. "A little bit soft, but other than that, it looks amazing."
Garcia is hoping to become the first repeat winner at this event since US legend Sam Snead in the 1950s. Snead, who died in 2002, remains the holder of the PGA tour titles record -- his 82 is three ahead of current world number one Tiger Woods.
"It would be nice to change that bit of history," Garcia said of his hopes to defend the title.
"The only thing I can do is go out there, hopefully play well like I know I can and we'll see if that's good enough to repeat here.
"It's a very demanding golf course. You have to drive the ball well."
The Wyndham is also the final opportunity for those players outside the top 125 in the FedExCup rankings to earn a berth in the playoffs.
Nicolas Colsaerts (126th), Padraig Harrington (128th), Woody Austin (134th) and Vijay Singh (141st) are all battling to get into the playoffs.
This is also the first event following the PGA Championship where American Jason Dufner fired a final-round two-under par 68 Sunday to beat Jim Furyk by two strokes.
Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013