Garcia stays hot, confident at Bethpage's 'non-major'

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FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – Earlier this year at the Masters, Sergio Garcia lamented after a third-round 75 dropped him well out of contention, that he simply wasn’t destined to win majors.

Which is why it’s a good thing Bethpage Black isn’t hosting another U.S. Open this week.

Coming off a win at last week’s Wyndham Championship, Garcia posted a 5-under 66 in the first round of The Barclays and is T-4 on a course he claims is playing like a major.

“It’s funny how if it says ‘U.S. Open’ in front, it seems to play harder just because of that than if it’s a normal PGA Tour event, because I don’t think it’s playing that different to what it was maybe in (the U.S. Open in) 2009,” Garcia said.

Before last week, Garcia hadn’t won on the PGA Tour in four years.

Thursday at Bethpage, Garcia hit 11 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens and needed 28 putts. His 66 included one bogey and six birdies, including a birdie at the 411 yard par-4 18th.

“Obviously finishing with a birdie is nice,” Garcia said. “It would be more important if it’s on Sunday to win than today.”