Garcia fires 66 to take clubhouse lead at Singapore Open
SINGAPORE (AP) Sergio Garcia kicked off his 2018 season in style on Thursday, shooting a 5-under 66 to take the early clubhouse lead in the first round of the Singapore Open.
Playing his first tournament of the new year, the reigning Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle to jump straight to the top of the leaderboard.
The 38-year-old dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his 6th hole after he teed off from the back-9, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33 at the Sentosa Golf Club.
Garcia also covered the front nine in 33, making birdies at each of the long two par-5s and one of the par-3s to enter the clubhouse two shots clear of his nearest competitor, Casey O'Toole, whose round included a hole-in-one on the 2nd hole.
Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus World Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.
He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in his Masters win as he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.
Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.
South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, was among Thursday's late starters along with Pat Perez, who is currently second in the FedEx Cup standings.