Garcia one-putted the final 11 holes and made birdies on his last seven holes Friday in the Bridgestone Invitational to tie the course record at Firestone with a 9-under 61 and take a three-shot lead.
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.
It matched the tournament record held by Tiger Woods, who shot 61 in 2000 and 2013, 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.
Garcia was at 11-under 129, three shots clear of Justin Rose (67). British Open champion Rory McIlroy birdied his last two holes for a 64 and joined Marc Leishman (67) four shots out of the lead.
Garcia’s 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.
Woods also shot his 61s at Firestone in the second round. He could have used something remotely close to that to stay in range of Garcia. Instead, Woods hit only four fairways off the tee and couldn’t seem to make anything on the green. It added to a 71, leaving him 10 shots behind.
Barracuda Championship: Nick Watney increased his lead to three points, scoring eight points in the modified Stableford event at Montreux to push his two-day total to 26.
Players receive eight points for double eagle, five for eagle, two for birdie, zero for par, minus-one for bogey and minus-three for double bogey or worse.
Watney had five birdies and two bogeys in the morning session after making nine birdies in a bogey-free opening round.
Geoff Ogilvy was second, and Wes Roach was third at 22.
Watney is making his first appearance in the event since 2008 after failing to qualify for the Bridgestone Invitational. He’s 124th in the FedEx Cup standings, with the top 125 getting into The Barclays — the playoff opener that he won in 2012 for the last of his five PGA Tour titles.
3M Championship: Tuesday qualifier Marco Dawson shot a 9-under 63 to take the lead in the Champions Tour event, leaving Bernhard Langer a stroke back five days after the German star’s record-breaking victory in the Senior British Open.
Dawson, playing the back nine first at TPC Twin Cities, birdied three of his first four holes and chipped in for eagle on No. 18. After a birdie on the par-5 third hole, he birdied three of his final four holes.
Langer, the two-time 3M champion who won by a tour-record 13 strokes Sunday at Royal Porthcawl, was tied for second with Jeff Maggert, Rocco Mediate and Vijay Singh. Langer holed out from 155 yards for an eagle on the par-4 14th and added birdies on Nos. 16 and 18.
Kenny Perry opened with a 65, and Paul Goydos had a 67 in his debut on the 50-and-over tour.