Sergio surges past field with seven straight birdies
By Bernie D'Amato under PGA Tour

The best golfer at Firestone.

Sergio Garcia finished his round with seven straight birdies to fire a career-low nine-under 61 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He is at 11-under total, three strokes ahead of Justin Rose, and four strokes ahead of Marc Leishman and Rory McIlroy.

The back nine is where Sergio’s round went from mediocre to amazing. He birdied the tenth hole to go to two-under, and then he drained a birdie putt on holes 12 through 18. The inward 27 was the lowest of El Nino’s career, and one short of Corey Pavin’s record 26 at the 2006 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee.

Sergio said, “I don’t know if it was the zone or what it was, but the only thing I can tell you is I was obviously feeling very comfortable and very calm.”

In June, Kevin Streelman accomplished the feat of seven straight birdies in the final round of the Travelers Championship. Streels needed every single birdie to beat Sergio and K.J. by one stroke.

Garcia recalled the birdie barrage at the Travelers. “I guess me and K.J., we got this done about a month ago to us, and I was able to do it today. It was one of those funny things, I guess.”

He added the tenth hole sparked his memorable back nine. “I hit two really nice shots on 10.  That gave me a lot of confidence, and from then on, I started hitting a lot of shots the way I wanted to. So that was really nice.”

“It was a combination of getting good numbers, hitting good shots. Then when I wasn’t too close from the hole, I rolled a couple of nice putts in.”

Rory McIlroy shot a six-under 64 in the group behind Sergio to stay within striking distance of his Ryder Cup teammate.

WGC-Bridgestone leader board.

–Bernie D’Amato

(Photo: Getty)