Garcia makes fast start

30 November 2017 21:09:38 GMTPlus11

Sergio Garcia overcame an early alarm call and two breaks for bad weather to shoot a five-under-par 67 in the first round of the Australian PGA and end the day just one off the lead.

The Spaniard is playing the event for the first time and signed for 13 pars and five birdies on his rain-interrupted morning lap of Royal Pines.

That put him one shot behind pacesetters Adam Bland and Jordan Zunic and also made the Masters champ the only non-Australian in the top 14 on the leaderboard.

"I've never teed off at 6.10 in a tournament ... so that was interesting," said Garcia. "I think it was probably the closest I've had a dinner and a breakfast ever."

Of his opening 18, he reflected: "I wouldn't say that it was amazing but it was good. The most positive thing for me would be to go a bogey-free round, which I didn't realise until we got done.

"I feel like mentally I'm not quite as sharp as I was probably a month ago or so. I guess the year is kind of draining a little bit.

"Hopefully I'm able to do more of the same but every day's different. It also depends on the weather. If it gets windy it can be quite tricky, this course."

Home hero Adam Scott, who has resorted to a broomstick putter this week, enjoyed a share of the lead with two birdies in his first three holes but had to settle for a one-under 71.

The other big name in the field, Marc Leishman, won twice on the PGA Tour in 2017 and could be in line for his first victory in this event after posting a 67 that left him tied with Garcia and just one off the pace.

Leishman mixed four birdies with three bogeys over his first 14 holes but ended with a bang, playing his final four holes in four-under thanks to a chip-in eagle at 15 and further gains at 16 and 18.

After round one, Leishman is 1001.00 to win the Australian PGA, with Garcia 251.00, Cameron Smith (-4) 1.12 and Scott 251.00.

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