Sergio Garcia: New clubs, a first Major top 20 since Masters glory and he loves playing in Europe

The Spaniard tees it up in the BMW International Open at Eichenried this week and his game seems to be trending in all the right directions.

Best bet

Sergio Garcia to win at 11/1

It was never going to be the biggest Spanish golf story of the week - Jon Rahm saw to that - but Sergio Garcia had something to smile about last week.

True, he didn't make the cut by much and only broke par in the final round, but when he did (with a 3-under-par 68), it confirmed a first top 20 since before the Masters.

More importantly, much more importantly however, it was also a first Major Championship top 20 finish since he won the 2017 Masters.

Yes, his first in four years. His first in 17 starts in the tournaments that define a career.

It was also a first since he made the muddle-headed decision, at the end of 2017, to change club manufacturer, but more of that later.

Now the 41-year-old heads across the Atlantic to Munich for the European Tour's BMW International Open with his confidence growing.

Can he contend at Golf Club Eichenried?

Let's take a closer look his excellent record in Europe, his course logbook, his form, and also the background to his equipment problems.

Sergio in Europe

It's often easy to believe that Garcia burst on to the professional scene and started winning immediately.

In one sense, he did: he landed victory in his sixth start as a professional. In another, he was very far from being inexperienced at the highest level: it was his 26th appearance on either the European, PGA or Korn Ferry Tours.

The first win came in the Irish Open at Druid's Glen and with it the flood gates opened.

Since that breakthrough he's obviously proved himself a superb performer, landing 36 wins around the world.

But what about actually in Europe? And let's make it specific and focus on continental Europe.

He's made 65 starts, landed 41 top 10s (63%), 28 top fives (43%) and 11 wins (17%).

There's absolutely no doubt that his sensational returns on home soil boost these figures, but if you look at his last 20, 30 and 40 starts in continental Europe the top 10 ratio remain more or less level with his overall record (between 60 to 63%) and so does the win rate (between 15 to 17%).

And what about in Germany? A little down, but still strong: 15 starts, seven top 10s, one win. Now, let's look at his course efforts.

Sergio at Eichenried

This week will be his eight visit to the Munich club and, although he's yet to win there (something he has achieved at the tournament's other host course, Gut Larchenhof), he does have a decent history there.

He finished tied seventh both on debut in 2001 and again in 2013, he lost a playoff in 2011, and he was solo second in 2017.

He's also a very useful 9-for-10 at breaking 70 in the weekend rounds.

Sergio's form

He started the PGA Tour's 2020/21 season with victory in the Sanderson Farms Championship in early October and opened the European Tour's 2021 campaign with tied sixth in the Dubai Desert Classic and T12th at the Saudi International.

When he added tied ninth at THE PLAYERS he was looking in fine fettle, but thereafter viewing his form has been a case of wondering if you are an optimist or pessimist.

html) */?>

He opened The Heritage with a 68 (T17th) and the AT&T Byron Nelson with a 65 (T7th), but missed the cut at both.

He was top three through the first three rounds at Colonial, but then closed with a 76 for T20th.

That big number is part of a theme: beginning at the Masters, he carded a score of 75 in five straight starts.

However he broke that run last week at Torrey Pines and then closed with that 68 for T19th.

Viewed positively, he's progressive (MC-T20th-T19th), he was bang in-contention on his penultimate start, and he's just landed that first top 20 in a Major in four years.

It's also his first Major top 20 since ...

Sergio and his sticks

After 15 years playing Taylormade, in late 2017 Garcia made an alliance with Callaway. It was to prove a short-lived arrangement, followed by a year and a half as a free agent.

"Unfortunately I signed with the wrong company," he said at Augusta National in April. "That took confidence off me.

"The only thing you can do is build back up. The only way to do it is by kind of doing it over and over. I feel like we're getting better and it's just a shame."

The return to Taylormade was officially announced in May and at Colonial he said: "I feel good about the way I'm hitting the ball. I feel comfortable.

"I like the work that I've done with TaylorMade the last two weeks to try to get everything dialled in as best as possible after these last three years that I wasn't with them."

READ MORE: What he said: Jon Rahm's winning words after taking US Open glory

Latest Golf Videos