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Page last updated at 09:39 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June 2008 10:39 UK

Garcia targeting first major win

US OPEN
Venue: Torrey Pines, La Jolla, California Date: 12-15 June
Coverage: BBC Radio 5 Live, Text commentary on BBC Sport website

Sergio Garcia
Garcia is full of confidence after winning the Players Championship

Sergio Garcia is hoping renewed confidence can help him win his first major at this week's US Open.

The Spaniard warmed up for the event with victory at last month's Players Championship and he is buoyed by winning his seventh PGA Tour title.

"Winning the Players is always something huge," he said.

"It was a great victory. It's always important to win a big event, anytime you win one of those it gives you a little bit of extra confidence."

He added: "The most important thing is when you're down the stretch you know you've done it before in a big event against a tough field on a difficult course, that definitely helps.

"I'm hoping to put good use to that in the near future."

The Players' Championship is regarded as the unofficial "fifth major" but his victory at Sawgrass is not the only reason Garcia is in confident mood ahead of Thursday's championship at Torrey Pines.

This is a tournament I know and believe I can win

Phil Mickelson
His short game and putting, long seen as weak points in his game, are starting to improve and the 28-year-old believes his hard work is finally paying off.

"I think my confidence with my short game is much greater than it's probably ever been," Garcia said.

"It's a great feeling. The thing is when you are playing well but you're not making putts, it feels like there's a lot of pressure.

"If you are putting well, even if you are not playing well, you feel like as soon as you switch it over you're going to start putting for birdies and start making birdies instead of saving par."

Another hoping for victory in Southern California is Phil Mickelson, who will partner world number one Tiger Woods and Adam Scott on the first two rounds.

Mickelson grew up playing at Torrey Pines and he is also a three-time Buick Invitational winner at the course.

He has so far failed to win the US Open, but is hoping his experience can bring him his first title this time around.

606: DEBATE
BBC Sport's Iain Carter
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to compete in the US Open on the course I grew up on in the prime of my career," he said.

"I want to give myself every opportunity to play my best golf this week.

"I've come close to winning this championship four times, I've had four second places. This is a tournament I know and believe I can win.

"I think that this golf course gives me the best opportunity available to do that. Winning this tournament would be something that would help define my career."

Torrey Pines was extensively remodelled in 2001 to make it worthy of hosting the US Open and Masters champion Trevor Immelman, who won the US Amateur Public Links championship in 1998 at the course, believes it will prove to be a testing challenge.

"The course has changed so much," Immelman said.

"We all know it's a lot longer. The other major thing is that the greens are a lot more severe and undulating and there are a lot more plateaus on the greens.

"Make no mistake - this is a seriously difficult golf course, but it has been very fairly set up."


see also
Ken Brown's US Open preview
11 Jun 08 |  Golf
US Open 2008 photos
10 Jun 08 |  Golf


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