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Sergio Garcia to concentrate on US Tour

Sergio Garcia's ambition of topping the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic received a welcome boost following his four-shot victory in the Spanish Open Sunday.

The world No. 4 earned a winner's check for $250,000 and climbed to fourth in the European Tour's order of merit -- behind rankings leader Retief Goosen, second-placed Ernie Els and compatriot Jose Maria Olazabal.

Fresh from his first European Tour win on home soil, Garcia will now resume his bid to overhaul world No. 1 Tiger Woods in the U.S. money list.

"I put myself in a good position Sunday and held on to it, so it's obviously going to be good for my confidence," said the 22-year-old Spaniard, who is spending this week at home in Spain before returning to play on the U.S. PGA Tour.

"It is always great to do that (have a break). I will have that to think about while I take my week off and then go back to the States and try and keep the run going there.

"My goal to try to win both orders of merit is still the same as it was at the start of the year.

"If I don't, then I'll try to get as close as possible. I'll just keep working and see what happens."

While Garcia is well-placed at fourth in Europe, he faces a much harder task in the United States where he ranks seventh and lies more than $1.2 million behind the pacesetting Woods.

But the Spaniard feels he is at the peak of his form at the moment and wants to make the most of this on the PGA Tour after his week-long break in Spain.

"The reason for my good form is that my swing has been feeling really spot on," he said.

"I've been hitting the ball really solidly, hitting a lot of good shots and driving the ball really well. When you mix that all together, that can only bring you confidence.

"I've only been working on the usual things -- a little on my address (of the golf ball) at Doral in Miami and things like that, trying to get a little more square at address.

"Since then, I've been hitting the ball really well."

Retief Goosen, Garcia's main rival for the 2002 European order of merit title, also takes this week off, even though he will be missing out on the French Open which he has won twice.

The U.S. Open champion's closing 67 Sunday at windy El Cortijo lifted him to eighth in the Spanish Open after he began the final round languishing in 43rd.

His battling finish should give the South African plenty of heart for a tough month in Europe to come which could define his 2002 campaign as he bids to become European number one for the second year in a row.

Meanwhile, twice U.S. Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal returns to action for this week's European Tour event after missing last week's Spanish Open in the Canary Islands.

Olazabal, who is third in both the European and U.S. money lists, will be defending his French Open title at Le Golf National in Versailles, where seven times European number one Colin Montgomerie is also in the field.

Italy's Emanuele Canonica, who regained the tour card he lost last year with his runner-up spot behind Garcia Sunday, secures an automatic place in this week's French Open.


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