Sergio Garcia keeps eye on prize with a first round 68
By Bernie D'Amato under The Open Championship


Sergio Garcia shot an opening 68 at Hoylake, and is two shots off the pace set by Rory McIlroy. Garcia said, “Every time you start a major championship and an Open with a 4-under, you’ve got to be pleased with it. Obviously, a couple of birdie chances on the last three that I would have liked to do better with, but I got a little bit lucky on 18, too, with my tee shot. I can’t really complain too much about it.”

Sergio has had a lot of success at The Open with seven career top-10s. He has embraced the championship because of the Ryder Cup vibes. “After the Ryder Cup, it’s my favorite tournament to play. You always come with a different frame of mind here, even if you’re struggling little bit. I enjoy the people out there. It almost kind of feels like a Ryder Cup, when people start shouting, “Come on, lads!” and things like that. Those are things that you don’t hear that often, and it’s good to hear this week.”

Garcia had a great start to his round with birdies on 1, 3, and 5 for a three-under 32 on the front nine. He bogeyed the par-5 10th,but came back with a birdie on 11.

“It was perfect timing. It was one of those things that it was great to be able to do it right after a bogey on a par-5, which always stings a little bit. So I hit a great tee shot, and then just pulled it with my 9-iron left of the green. And obviously looking at it and thinking, okay, see if I can fly it on this little flat spot, and let it run down the hill, and see if I can make a nice four and make sure you stop the ball running. Fortunately, it went straight in the middle and hit the pin and went in. That was a really nice moment to kind of keep the good momentum going and kind of forget that bogey.”

Sergio added a birdie on 13 to get to four-under, and he finished with five straight pars.

The four-under 68 has El Niño tied for third place, and excited to take on Hoylake tomorrow.

Open Championship leader board.

–Bernie D’Amato