Garcia (61) leads WGC, breaks back-nine record

By Doug FergusonAugust 1, 2014, 10:31 pm

AKRON, Ohio -- Sergio Garcia doesn't know anything about being in a zone. He had no trouble identifying the best round of his career.

Garcia one-putted the final 11 holes and made birdies on his last seven holes Friday in the Bridgestone Invitational to tie the course record at Firestone with a 9-under 61 and take a three-shot lead into the weekend.

He had a birdie putt on every hole on the back nine, missing only a 15-footer from the fringe at No. 11. Garcia shot 27 on the back nine, a course record.

''Just one of those moments that you love and you enjoy, and you wish there were no end,'' he said.

It matched the tournament record held by Tiger Woods, who shot 61 in 2000 and 2013, and Jose Maria Olazabal, who shot his 61 in 1990. Woods went on to win by 11 shots in 2000 and seven shots last year. Olazabal won by 12 in the World Series of Golf.

Garcia still has work to do.

He was at 11-under 129, three shots clear of Justin Rose, who had a 67. British Open champion Rory McIlroy birdied his last two holes for a 64 and joined Marc Leishman of Australia (67) four shots out of the lead.


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McIlroy played in the group behind Garcia, and could hear what was going on if he couldn't see it.

''Every time I looked, he was putting a ball in the hole and the crowd was cheering,'' McIlroy said. ''I knew that he was making a few birdies.''

Garcia was five shots out of the lead when he had to scramble to save pars on back-to-back holes to close out the front nine on what seemed to be an ordinary round. Two good swings on the 10th hole led to a 20-foot birdie putt. He hit 8-iron to 2 feet on No. 12 and 3 feet on No. 13 for the easiest birdies he had all day, and those turned out to be the start of his big run.

The Spaniard finished in style, making birdie putts of 15, 25 and 20 feet on his last three holes.

It reminded Garcia of the Travelers Championships earlier this summer, when Kevin Streelman closed with seven straight birdies to beat Garcia and K.J. Choi by one shot.

''When I made the one on 17 I thought, 'This kind of looks familiar from what happened not too long ago,''' Garcia said. ''Obviously, Sunday would be even nicer. But I'll take what I can get.''

His previous best score was a 62 on three other occasions - as a 19-year-old at the Scottish Open and Byron Nelson Classic in 1999, and at Mount Juliet in 2002 at the American Express Championship.

Woods also shot his 61s at Firestone in the second round. He could have used something remotely close to that to stay in range of Garcia. Instead, Woods hit only four fairways off the tee and couldn't seem to make anything on the green. It added to a 71, leaving him 10 shots behind.

''I didn't hit the ball well. I didn't putt well. I didn't do anything well,'' Woods said. ''The only thing I did well was I fought hard. Grinded hard. Unfortunately, it wasn't a very good day.''

Starting times for the third round were moved up to Saturday morning, with threesomes off both tees, because of a forecast for storms. That figures to only keep Firestone soft, allowing players to attack the pins provided they're in the short grass.

Rose missed only two greens in posting a 67 as his momentum builds toward the final major of the year next week at the PGA Championship. He wouldn't mind adding a WGC title this week. Either way, there is a long stretch of big tournaments, and Rose is headed in the right direction. He won back-to-back starts at Congressional and Royal Aberdeen before stalling slightly at the British Open.

''I'm feeling good about peaking at this time of the year,'' Rose said. ''Every week is big. You could argue a major championship in the middle of it all is the one you'd really love to peak for next week. But at the same time, there's not a bad golf tournament now for about two months. Looking forward to the whole stretch.''

He didn't realize when he finished that Rose would have three shots to make up on Garcia starting out the third round.

It didn't come entirely out of the blue for Garcia. Just two weeks ago, he challenged McIlroy briefly at Royal Liverpool until tying for second in the British Open. But this was something special, and Garcia could sense it.

''It feels great to be able to ... equal the course record on a course like this. Even playing soft, it's not that easy a course,'' Garcia said. ''You have to drive the ball very, very well. You have to put the ball on the greens on the right spots because you can get some really, really fast putts.

''Being in a group with Tiger and Jose Maria, it feels really good.''

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.