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Garcia (69) doesn't think he can win U.S. Open

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Coming off his lowest round in the U.S. Open in the last three years and within reach of the early lead, Sergio Garcia had plenty of reason to smile after the opening round at Pebble Beach. Instead, the Spaniard’s outlook on things was gloomy at best.

Garcia shot a 2-under 69 in his opener, making an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole in addition to three other birdies. But after the round he remarked that he was surprised by his own performance given how he felt entering the week, which he described as “horrible.”

“The game doesn’t feel good at the moment. It’s as simple as that,” Garcia said. “We go through some of these stretches, and unfortunately I’m picking the wrong part of the year to go through one of those.”

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Garcia is down to 30th in the latest world rankings, having missed the cut in each of his last two starts. But he does have four top-10 finishes to his credit since February, including a pair of WGC events. Still, Garcia’s outlook was nothing short of dour after closing out a round that left him within three shots of the first-round lead.

“I mean, I don’t think I have much of a chance of winning this week the way I’m feeling,” he said. “But, you know, the planets have aligned before (at the 2017 Masters). If they do again and it helps me, then it’s a good thing.”

Garcia entered this week on a string of seven straight missed cuts in majors, a drought that dates back to the 2017 PGA at Quail Hollow and includes an early exit last month at Bethpage after rounds of 74-71. While he appears in position to stick around for the weekend at Pebble, Garcia wasn’t exactly brimming with optimism after a round where he mixed good shots with ones where he “looked like a 25-handicapper.”

“The thing is, when you’re feeling better, when you’re feeling well, your misses are a lot more under control,” Garcia said. “And it feels like when I’m missing at the moment, I’m not very much under control.”