There are rounds in the life of a golfer that they will never forget. Sebas Garcia had one on Thursday at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid. To call the Madrid native’s golf today sublime would be a huge understatement.
Having cut his teeth at El Robledal, a rocky course on the outskirts of the capital, Sebas has been threatening to make moves on the European Tour for several months and he could be on the verge of something big here. There is no better way to open your collection of titles on the continental tour than by winning the ACCIONA Open de España presented by Madrid.
While the cheers from Jon Rahm’s match echoed round the course, the Madrid native was in the following group. The vast majority of fans were ahead of him, but a small number of them (around 20 to 30 people) followed Garcia and the Spaniard did not disappoint.
He did not need long to warm up. Having teed off on the 10th, birdies came on 14, 15 and 16 and he missed out on another when a short putt slipped by the hole on the 17th, all of which quickly erased the memory of his only blemish of the day on the 12th. He rewarded the small group of fans that decided to watch him instead of Rahm with a masterclass. His exhibition with the driver was laughably good. Donald and Olesen were left in his wake all day long. The Spaniard was frequently 20, 30 or even 40 metres ahead of his playing partners.
The Madrid man looked very relaxed, bomb after bomb, astonishing distance control with his wedges and a hot putter. His day had all the ingredients to make his round special, and he made sure that it was.
It was clear that this is his home and that the people here love him. He was frequently seen greeting people between holes. He is a Madrid native through and through. On the 18th he left himself with a kick-in for birdie after a deft pitch that delighted the fans in the crowded stands. It was a similar story on the 1st, a towering drive and a wedge to 6 feet from 110 yards. However, he would miss that putt.
On the 2nd, his eleventh, a large number of people left Rahm’s group to catch a glimpse of ‘Sebas’. The Madrid player rewarded them with another birdie to move to -4.
His round was interrupted by two ambulances (on the 15th and on the 4th), both because somebody had fainted in the crowd. It is to his credit that the first thing he did was to ask how those people were. Let’s hope they made a speedy recovery.
Despite the distractions, Garcia did not let his foot off the gas. A birdie at the 4th while the paramedics attended their patient produced a slightly surreal scene, and another at the 5th continued his procession. Bomb off the tee, wedge to a foot.
It was on the seventh that the clinic became a masterclass. He loudly shouted after a crisp iron shot, “be the club, please!”, and was it ever the club. His eagle there came after a drive that drew gasps from the crowd. He practically sent his ball into orbit. The 12-foot putt was poured into the middle of the hole, Sebas punched the air in delight, knowing he was on his way to posting a significant score.
Another birdie came at the 8th after another trademark hole; destroy the ball off the tee, 50 yard wedge to a few feet, one putt.
On the 9th he made his best effort to reach double figures but his 8 iron off the tee pulled up short and his long putt failed to find the cup. His smile as he signed his card said it all. He is hitting the ball frighteningly well and he knows it. By way of illustration, according to him, his worst shot of the day came on the 6th. Nobody else came close to the river from the tee. Donald and Oleson had to hit a 3 wood, but Sebas was having one of those days and he went for it. Another huge drive cleared the water with ease and it was his next blow that disgusted him. It was the only shot of the day when he looked unhappy with himself. The amazing thing is, it finished on the fringe, 10 feet from the hole. That is the kind of golf Sebastian Garcia played today. He was on another planet.
Tomorrow, he will be out in the group behind Rahm once again. However, this time around it is likely that there will be more than just 20 or 30 fans there to watch him. After today, I strongly recommend you follow Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez tomorrow. The fact that he shares his first surname with Sergio Garcia and his second with Jon Rahm Rodriguez is surely a coincidence, right? Friday, 14:10 on the 1st tee. Don’t miss it.