Garcia at full tilt serves up impression of mighty Nadal

It was difficult to adjudicate which was Sergio Garcia's biggest achievement yesterday. Shooting a 64 to conjure his way back into the European Open or then making it around the M25 and the capital in time to see his friend Rafael Nadal sprint through his semi-final at Wimbledon. There were stages during the usual Friday rush when both seemed on the outskirts of impossible.

Suffice to say that both events will now have a Spanish flavour come Sunday afternoon and should Garcia manage to haul back the pacesetters – Ross Fisher and Graeme McDowell, four and three ahead respectively – then he will swagger into the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in two weeks' time looking every inch the favourite to continue his country's remarkable sporting summer.

And do not underestimate what playing for a higher cause than merely himself could do for Sergio's chances of redressing last year's agonising loss at Carnoustie. There are one or two Ryder Cup captains around who will testify to his peerless prowess when competing under a flag. He is unashamedly a team man and it was possible to sense during this second round that he did not want to meet up with his compadre at SW19 last night without some good news of his own of which to boast. Garcia does not do "inferior".

Nadal learned as much when the pair first linked up last October, on Nadal's home island of Majorca. On playing with him in a pro-am and seeing how adept the tennis boy was on the fairways, Garcia was not about to let the other El Niño claim all the bragging rights. So the one-time boyfriend of Martina Hingis challenged Nadal to a game of tennis. "It was awesome," remembered Garcia yesterday. "And he was quite impressed with my tennis. As much as I was impressed with his golf."

With that revelation Garcia was up and off on his dash from Kent to Surrey, only pausing to text his newest amigo. "Rafa and I send messages to each other," he said. "I'm sure he will be happy about my round."

Garcia might just have left out the bit about the bogey on the fourth (13th) and the three-putt on the par-five fifth (his 14th). They had threatened to derail what had been warming up to be a red-hot trail. "I am not happy with the way I played four and five," said the 28-year-old. "I had a really good score going and my second shot on four from the middle of the fairway with a nine-iron became plugged in a bunker and stopped my momentum."

Not for too long, however. Three holes later he rattled in a nine-foot eagle putt at the long eighth (his 17th) and then, on his last hole, holed from 18 feet for another birdie to make him eight-under for the day, nine-under for the tournament. "The good news is I got myself back into the event," he said.

He acknowledged he still has his work cut out to get to the top of star-packed leaderboard. Not only is there the in-form duo of Fisher (13-under) and McDowell (12-under) to leapfrog but also a couple of big-timers in Ian Poulter and Colin Montgomerie close in behind on seven-under.

Poulter and Montgomerie were paired yesterday and were almost involved in a spat when the former apparently tired of hearing the latter's legendary whinges to the cameramen. Poulter mimicked to the crowd about Montgomerie talking too much and for a while the atmosphere was tense. But later both laughed it off. That was a relief as there was a rather enthralling golf competition on which to focus.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam