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Sergio Garcia ties Collin Morikawa with Texas fight, clutch par

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AUSTIN, Texas – Sergio Garcia showed some Texas fight Thursday at Austin Country Club.

Three down with five holes to play to Collin Morikawa, Garcia, an Austin resident and adopted Texas Longhorn, rallied to earn a tie with the world No. 2 and remain in the running to win his group at the WGC-Dell Match Play.

“If you would offer me a tie on the 14th tee, I would have definitely taken it and run to the clubhouse,” Garcia said.

Morikawa jumped on Garcia, 3 up, at the turn, and he nearly added on at the par-3 11th hole, but Garcia drained a 12-footer for par to match and stay within three. The Spaniard then birdied four of his next five holes, including the par-4 15th hole from 30 feet, to tie the match.

After leaving his 18-foot birdie putt a few rotations short and watching Morikawa get up and down to match his par, Garcia fanned his drive at the par-4 finishing hole well right and into the trees, his tee ball coming to rest on a downslope, in the pine straw and just in front of a rock.

With 113 yards left and facing a stiff wind, Garcia knew he needed to find a way to make par as Morikawa was sitting pretty in the fairway.

“First thing was going through my mind was, Why didn't you make a better swing off the tee?” Garcia said. “But you know, obviously I had a rock a little bit behind my ball, so I knew I had to get steep. The good thing is I had an opening, so I didn't have a tree in front, so that was nice, but I had to get really, really steep with my 52[-degree wedge]. The way it came out I thought it had a chance of getting to the top and getting fairly close to the hole, but unfortunately, it didn't, but I actually would have taken it, before I hit it, I would have taken it where it was.”

Matches and scoring from the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship

Garcia hit a low spinner that carried the front greenside bunker and checked up about 25 feet short of the cup.

Degree of difficulty?

“I mean, it was OK,” Garcia said. “It wasn't super difficult. I mean, the lie kind of made it a little bit tougher, the situation probably made it a little bit tougher, but I've had a lot tougher shots than that. But you still have to get there and hit the shot and hit a good shot and give yourself a chance, because obviously if I don't hit a good shot, then it's so much easier for him to go out there and hit it very close. So, doing that obviously puts a little bit of pressure on him and it gives me a little bit more of a chance.”

From there, Garcia two-putted to tie the hole and pull off the unlikely half-point. Now 1-0-1, Garcia will play Robert MacIntyre (0-2) on Friday while Morikawa (1-0-1) faces Jason Kokrak (1-1).

“It was a hard-played match,” Garcia said, “and I'm not going to lie, I'm happy with the tie, but a win would have been better.”