x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Dubai Desert Classic: Ailing Sergio Garcia still in the hunt

Despite some neck and shoulder issues, Spain's Sergio Garcia is just three shots off the lead after the second round at the Duabi Desert Classic, writes Steve Elling.

Sergio Garcia of Spain receives treatment on the 18th fairway during the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic on Friday.  Warren Little / Getty Images
Sergio Garcia of Spain receives treatment on the 18th fairway during the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic on Friday. Warren Little / Getty Images

DUBAI / / Sergio Garcia so badly tweaked a nerve in his neck and shoulder area that he considered walking off the course on Friday at Emirates Golf Club.

In fact, as he played the 18th hole, Garcia received treatment from a trainer who had been summoned to help stretch out the sore, affected area.

"I think you kind of deal with it," the 33-year-old Spaniard said.

Some better than others.

Garcia, the second-highest-ranked player in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic field, promptly eagled the hole and leaped right into the mix for the second weekend in a row on the European Tour.

Beaten by a spectacular eagle on the last hole in Qatar last Saturday, the ailing Garcia managed to shove it around Emirates Golf Club on Friday with a 5-under 67, leaving him two shots off the lead at an event that has been won by Spanish players the past three years.

Even though he is positioned to make a weekend run, Garcia warned that he has sensed no improvement in the injury, which he believes occurred while working out Wednesday. When he awakened for Thursday's first round, his left shoulder hurt.

At various points over the first two days, his neck, elbow and forearm have tingled as well. He's been taking aspirin and anti-inflammatories, but twice summoned a physio to work on him during the second round.

Garcia, infamous for being a glass-is-half-full type, explained the unusual circumstances in his animated fashion. Only he could make a 67 sound like a dire development.

"On the 14th green, I told my caddie, if it doesn't get better after 18, we'll probably walk," he said. "Then, unfortunately, we started making birdies and eagles."

Unfortunately? "I thought, 'Well, what do we do now?'"

At this point, winning seems a viable option, too.

selling@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE