Sergio Garcia enjoys steady first round at Valspar, awaits baby call

SOTOGRANDE, SPAIN - OCTOBER 22: Golfer Sergio Garcia and his wife Angela Akins attend Andalucia Valderrama Masters at Valderrama Royal Club on October 22, 2017 in Sotogrande, Spain. (Photo by Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images) Europa Press/Getty Images

Sergio Garcia enjoys steady first round at Valspar, awaits baby call

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Sergio Garcia enjoys steady first round at Valspar, awaits baby call

 

PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Sergio Garcia was inside the top 10 on the leaderboard when he finished his opening round Thursday at the Valspar Championship. There’s a chance he might be gone by the weekend. 

Garcia’s wife, Angela, is pregnant and watching from home with a baby girl due in just 10 days, which means Sergio is waiting on a call.

The call.

“You know any moment you can get a call and you have to jump on a plane and go back home,” Garcia said.

Garcia shot 1-under 70 during an uninterrupted Round 1 at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course. It will likely be his last stroke-play event before a much-anticipated title defense next month at the Masters, though he is hoping to play the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in two weeks if the baby is born when anticipated.

Garcia, who teed off on No. 10, was 3 under through 12 holes but made bogeys at the par-3 fourth and par-5 fifth. Overall it was a self-described “good effort” and required a bit of mental multi-tasking.

“It is there (in the back of my mind),” Garcia said. “I guess when I’m out there playing I’m trying to concentrate on what I’m doing and after I’m done, then I think about Angela and what’s happening. It is a little bit there in the back of my head.”

Two important decisions have already been made in preparation for the month to come, but Garcia isn’t ready to share the final verdicts. He and Angela have a name picked out for the baby girl, and Garcia has selected a menu for the annual Masters Champions Dinner on Tuesday night of tournament week.

If all goes according to plan, Sergio and Angela will have an extra passenger with them when they make the drive down Magnolia Lane come April. Garcia said they’re hoping to bring the baby to Augusta National, where last year he finally captured his first career major at age 37.

A lot can change in one year. 

“I’m extremely excited about it,” Garcia said of the Masters. “It’s a lot of fun, so I’m really looking forward to it and can’t wait for it to arrive so I can experience it.”

Garcia is also playing some of the best golf of his career, beginning 2018 with a win at the Singapore Masters. He finished T-7 at the WGC-Mexico Championships last week and is No. 11 in the Official World Golf Ranking, one spot ahead of Rory McIlroy.

Phil Mickelson, nine years Garcia’s senior, finished on top in Mexico, which begs the question – is it possible Garcia’s best golf is still ahead of him as he prepares to become a father?

“Absolutely,” caddie Glen Murray said. “No doubt in my mind.”

Some of that can be attributed to the truckload of perspective that arrived in Garcia’s life with a July 2017 marriage to Angela and aforementioned baby prep. That’s helped Garcia on the course, where he was once known for his salty demeanor.

“I think so,” Garcia said. “Some days you do better than others, but it definitely helps out and you still have to keep working on it because it’s easy to forget those things. It’s important to stay with it.”

Garcia will try to stay with it and remain in contention at the Valspar when he tees off at 12:46 p.m. Friday alongside Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar, a bit of normalcy before everything changes.

Unless the call comes first. 

 

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