HOYLAKE, England – In a moment of Grand Slam déjà vu, Sergio Garcia’s towering 6-iron approach shot at the second hole on Friday at Hoylake bounced once, skipped forward and dropped into the cup for eagle.
Even the celebration, a series of high-fives and wide smiles, looked eerily similar to the last time the Spaniard rounded these grounds in search of a claret jug.
Back in 2006, when Garcia tied for fifth place, it was a similar shot during Round 3 that found the cup at the par-4 second although the circumstances were much different.
“I would have rather started 4-3-4,” said Garcia, who bookended his eagle at the second on Friday with bogeys at Nos. 1 and 3. “But to have another hole out on (No.) 2 was great.”
But then Garcia has become accustomed to special things happening at the game’s oldest championship. The event has become the perfect fit for his self-described “outside the box” thinking on the course, particularly on Friday at Royal Liverpool when winds whipped to 25 mph.
He also has come to expect a level of respect from the Open crowds that transcends the cultural lines between England and Spain.
“For me at this championship they want me to do well every time and to be able to keep it under par today it wasn’t easy to do,” said Garcia, who shot a 2-under 70 and is tied for third at 6 under par.