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Garcia shares lead in playoff opener

Aug. 24, 2012 at 8:44 PM   |   Comments

FARMINGDALE, N.Y., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Sergio Garcia, who broke a four-year winless streak on the PGA Tour last week, moved into a share of the lead Friday at the midway point of The Barclays.

With a win in the opening event of the tour's four-tournament playoff stretch, Garcia would take over the top spot in the FedEx Cup points chase.

He shot a 3-under 68 at the Bethpage State Park Black Course Friday for a two-day total of 8-under 134. That tied him for the lead with Nick Watney, who began last year's playoffs in first place and wound up ninth.

Watney shot a 69 that included an eagle at the par-5 fourth hole.

Vijay Singh, 49, and Bob Estes, 46, shared third place at 135 while John Senden and Pat Perez were tied at 136.

Among those at 137 was Tiger Woods, who played in obvious discomfort throughout the round due to a sore back that he said came from sleeping on a soft mattress at his hotel.

"It hurt all day," said Woods, who was the points leader at the start of the playoffs and who shot a 69 to tie Rickie Fowler, John Huh and Gary Christian for ninth place.

First-round leader Padraig Harrington bogeyed the first three holes Friday, shot a 75 and finished 36 holes at 139 in a tie for 16th place.

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, playing for the first time since he won the PGA Championship by eight shots, was at 142 after shooting a 73. Phil Mickelson was also at 142 following a 74.

The playoffs began with 125 players still eligible to win the FedEx Cup and its accompanying prize of $10 million.

That number will be reduced to 100 after this tournament and among those who were certain to miss out on the rest of the playoffs was U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III.

Love began the playoffs in 105th place and he missed the cut at this tournament with a 148 total.

Among those who gave themselves a chance for a big move up the points list during the opening two rounds was Christian, who was in 111th place going into the playoffs.

A finish among the Top 10 this week would guarantee him not only a spot among the 100 players who will compete at next week's Deutsche Bank Championship, but would also ensure him a position in the field of 70 that will play at the BMW Championship.

Only the first 30 on the points list will play in the Tour Championship, the final tournament of the playoffs.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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