Melbourne: A monster 50-foot putt from off the third green capped a scintillating six-under 65 for Sergio Garcia that propelled him up the leaderboard during the second round of the Australian Masters on Friday.
The 30-year-old Spaniard had slumped in his first round to four over until successive birdies on his final two holes gave him a sliver of redemption and he carried that momentum through on Friday with three birdies on his opening nine holes.
After shooting par on his first two holes after the turn, his drive on the par-four, 401-metre third, his 12th, was caught in the blustery wind at Victoria Golf Club and ended in the left rough.
“I was 149 yards (from the hole), right to left wind and the pin was just over the left side of the bunker,” Garcia told reporters of where his ball had ended.
“I was thinking about hitting a wedge because it looked like it was going to fly, but my caddy Gary said ‘if you hit a sand wedge I think you’ll get there’, so did, and I hit it over the green.”
Garcia, who said it was the only green he had missed in his entire round, decided to attempt the putt from nine yards off the green with a further eight to the hole, because even if he missed he should be able to save par.
“I just thought, at that time I was minus three in the round and if I could make par then it was still a good score and it didn’t stop my run.
“I hit the putt and as soon as it went on the green, probably about three yards from the hole with the line it was on, I knew it was going to go.”
The putt highlighted his round, though he still made two further birdies over his final six holes to leap from 67th on the leaderboard to a tie for second in the clubhouse on four-under 138.
“I just wanted to go out there and shoot decent for two or three under and make sure I could be here for the weekend,” said Garcia, who took a self-imposed exile of more than two months after he missed the cut at the U.S. PGA Championship in August.
“I started good, I felt good on the range, I felt comfortable and felt good on the putting green.
“As the round started I was getting more and more confident.
“To tell you the truth it was 65 but it wasn’t the lowest I could have shot today.”