It’s a banner day on the course for Sergio Garcia…
The 34-year-old Spanish professional golfer logged the best round of his career on Friday at the Bridgestone Invitational.
Garcia one-putted the final 11 holes and made birdies on his last seven holes to tie the course record at Firestone with a 9-under 61 to take a three-shot lead into the weekend.
He had a birdie putt on every hole on the back nine, missing only a 15-footer from the fringe at No. 11. Garcia shot 27 on the back nine, a course record.
“Just one of those moments that you love and you enjoy, and you wish there were no end,” he said.
Garcia’s feat matched the tournament record held by Tiger Woods, who shot 61 in 2000 and ’13, and Jose Maria Olazabal, who shot his 61 in 1990. Woods went on to win by 11 shots in 2000 and seven shots last year. Olazabal won by 12 in the World Series of Golf.
But Garcia still has his work cut out for him.
He was at 11-under 129, three shots clear of Justin Rose, who had a 67. Open Championship winner Rory McIlroy birdied his last two holes for a 64 and joined Marc Leishman of Australia (67) four shots out of the lead.
Garcia was five shots out of the lead when he had to scramble to save pars on back-to-back holes to close out the front nine on what seemed to be an ordinary round. Two good swings on the 10th hole led to a 20-foot birdie putt. He hit an 8-iron to 2 feet on No. 12 and 3 feet on No. 13 for the easiest birdies he had all day, and those turned out to be the start of his big run.
The Spaniard finished in style, making birdie putts of 15, 25 and 20 feet on his last three holes.
His previous best score was a 62 on three other occasions — as a 19-year-old at the Scottish Open and Byron Nelson Classic in 1999, and at Mount Juliet in 2002 at the American Express Championship.