Garcia fired a 7-under-par 65 at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., to take a one-shot lead over his Thursday playing companion, Vijay Singh at the $3.5 million Williams World Challenge. Davis Love III stands in third place after opening in 5-under 67, while Woods shares fourth place with Fred Couples at 4-under-par.
Garcia, who defeated Woods in the made-for-television Battle at Bighorn earlier in the year, eagled the par-5 2nd, and then posted four birdies in a four-hole stretch en route to his 65. For the day, the 20-year-old Spaniard carded one eagle, six birdies and one bogey.
'I still missed a couple of very good birdie opportunities. I still get frustrated when I don't make them,' Garcia said.
Playing alongside Garcia, Singh birdied five of his final six holes, including a near ace at the par-3 17th. The Fijian, who made the turn in even par, posted a back-nine 30 to finish the day at 6-under-par.
Tiger is finding his second go-around as tournament host a bit more pleasing. The last time this event was contested, in January, Woods finished 10th in the 12-man field. Thursday, Woods recorded six birdies and two bogeys, one of which occurred on the final hole, to shoot 68. However, the round could have been much lower, as Woods lipped out a number of birdie putts.
'I felt like I turned a 63 into a nice 68,' Woods sarcastically said following his 56th consecutive round at par or better. 'You're going to have days like this.
'I had five lip outs - but I'm not counting.'
Tom Lehman opened his title defense in 2-under-par 70. He's in sixth place alone. Jesper Parnevik is 7th following an even par 72. Justin Leonard (73), Hal Sutton (74), Mark O'Meara (75), David Duval (75) and Stewart Cink (79) round out the elite field.
The first-place finisher will earn $1 million, with $120,000 going to the player finishing last.