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Sergio Garcia returns to action after break

Spanish star Sergio Garcia makes his first visit to the Texas Open this week, having not played in the United States for a month.

After tying for 30th at the World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational in August, Garcia competed in Switzerland, then rested for two weeks. But he's back as he prepares for the U.S. tour's stretch run.

"Mainly, I was just relaxing a little bit," he said. "I played the Omega in Switzerland and then took two weeks off. It's been good. I needed a little rest, a little bit of practice, in order to get ready for a good stretch."

This will be Garcia's 18th event of the year on the U.S. tour. While continuing to work on a swing change, he has made 10 cuts and missed seven while amassing $570,641 to rank a disappointing 101st on the money list.

"I heard good things about this tournament," the 23-year-old said. "There's a nice theme park next to us, too. I'm a big fan of those."

Garcia missed the cut at the PGA Championship, but his two top-10 finishes, including a tie for fourth at the Buick Open, have come in the last three months and his youth may be an advantage this week.

"The course is a bit hilly," he said. "But it's a nice course to play at. I'm trying to get some good finishes to make it to the Tour Championship. Hopefully, a good week will help."

Garcia, whose world ranking has dropped from the top five to 20th, certainly will be a popular figure in the San Antonio Hispanic community.

"It's nice to see there are some Latin people going around there and cheering for you," he said. "I've always said it's nice to have crowds following you and want to cheer you on. It makes you keep going. So for me, it's nice to see that."

David Toms also is part of the field that will attack LaCantera Golf Club. He won the Wachovia Championship in May and St. Jude Classic in June for his two titles this year and first since 2001.

Toms has had four more top-10 finishes en route to $3,337,323 in earnings for the 22 events he's entered. He comes into the week ranked seventh in the world and can move up with a strong finish here but is coming off a four-week layoff.

"It's the longest break I've taken during the season in my career," he said. "It's just the way it worked out. I feel refreshed and hopefully ready to go."

Loren Roberts is back to defend his title, the eighth of his 22-year career. He has been very successful at LaCantera and has rebounded from a slow start to the season, posting back-to-back top-10 finishes at the PGA Championship and Canadian Open.

Roberts became just one of seven players since 1994 to record a Tour victory at the age of 45 or older. Peter Jacobsen and Craig Stadler have since added their names to the list.

It's getting down to crunch time for players on the bubble of the top 125 in earnings, which comes with playing privileges next season. Garrett Willis (125), Olin Browne (126), Jeff Brehaut (127) and Brian Gay (129) are among those competing this week.

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