LONDON • Masters champion Sergio Garcia has returned to golf's European Tour fuelled by his bid to join Seve Ballesteros as only the second Spaniard to be crowned European No. 1.
The 37-year-old tees up in this week's British Masters in the first of his four remaining events on this season's Tour schedule.
The newly-married Garcia is lying second and 971,868 points behind England's Tommy Fleetwood, who has elected to miss the event to be with his partner for the birth of their first child.
A Garcia victory in the event would bridge the gap to just 400,000 points.
The Spaniard has confirmed that he is also contesting the Italian Open next month, hosting his Andalucia Valderrama Masters later that month and playing at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in November.
"The goals are pretty much the same as always and I just keep building on that confidence, keep improving, keep getting better," he said. "Obviously the Race to Dubai is still up for grabs, and it would be nice to have a solid chance when we get to Dubai."
The late Ballesteros won the European No. 1 crown six times (1976-78, 1986, 1988 and 1991).
Since winning the Dubai Desert Classic in February, the Masters in April and June's BMW International Open, Garcia has struggled to maintain that winning form.
His best finish - and only top-10 - since June was a tie for 10th last Sunday at the PGA Tour Championship at East Lake in Georgia.
"I'm not going to lie, after the Masters, a little bit of a downer for a couple of months," he said.
"But the last two or three weeks, they have been positive. I've seen some really good things in my game coming along. So I'm excited about that. Excited to keep the run that I had the last couple of weeks this week."
Day 1: StarHub Ch204, 4.30pm