NORTON, Massachusetts: Sergio Garcia swooped for an eagle at the final hole on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to seize the second-round lead at the US PGA Tour’s $8 million Deutsche Bank Championship.
The Spaniard rolled in an 18-footer for eagle at the 18th to cap a seven-under 64 and erase the taste of his only mis-step of the day, a double-bogey on the par-four 14th.
Prior to that he carded seven birdies and was in the clubhouse with a one-stroke lead on 13-under 129.
He was one stroke in front of Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, who matched the low round of the tournament with an eight-under 63 that featured eight birdies, and American Robert Castro, who notched his second straight 65 for 130.
Garcia said he considered skipping the tournament, the second of four events in the US tour’s season-ending playoffs, but wanted to solidify his place in the playoff points standings, especially after some disappointing showings in August.
Garcia came into the week at 59th in the playoff standings, with the top 70 due to advance to the third event, the BMW Championship, in two weeks and only the 30 making the Tour Championship.
“We decided to come here and make a little bit of an extra effort of playing obviously five weeks in a row, which I don’t usually enjoy very much,” Garcia said.
“The summer has been tough,” added Garcia, who has endured a dip in form since the off-course controversy that engulfed him in May over a racially tinged remark involving Tiger Woods.
Recently crowned PGA Champion Jason Dufner and fellow American Matt Kuchar were tied for fourth on 132, each posting his second straight 66.
US Open champion Justin Rose headed a group of three players on 133. The Englishman had eight birdies in his eight-under 63 and was joined at nine-under by Americans Jordan Spieth (66) and Harris English (67).
In all 18 players were within five strokes of Garcia’s lead. They included overnight co-leader Phil Mickelson, but only thanks to the British Open champion’s ability to hang in when his game deserted him.