AKRON, Ohio — Sergio Garcia had no trouble identifying the best round of his career.
Garcia one-putted the final 11 holes and made birdies on his last seven holes Friday at the Bridgestone Invitational to tie the course record at Firestone with a 9-under 61 and take a three-shot lead into the weekend.
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.
“Just one of those moments that you love and you enjoy, and you wish there were no end,” he said.
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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 in World Golf Championships events. Olazabal won by 12 in the World Series of Golf.
Garcia still has work to do.
He was at 11-under 129, three shots clear of Justin Rose, who had a 67. British Open champion Rory McIlroy birdied his last two holes for a 64 and joined Marc Leishman of Australia (67) four shots out of the lead.
Woods hit only four fairways off the tee and couldn’t seem to make anything on the greens. It added to a 71, leaving him 10 shots behind.
“I didn’t hit the ball well. I didn’t putt well. I didn’t do anything well,” Woods said. “The only thing I did well was I fought hard. Grinded hard. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a very good day.”
Ryan Moore from Puyallup, who opened with a 65, shot a 73 and was nine back.
Starting times for the third round were moved up to Saturday morning, with threesomes off both tees, because of a forecast for storms. That figures to keep Firestone soft, allowing players to attack the pins.
• Nick Watney increased his lead to three points at the Barracuda Championship in Reno, Nev., scoring eight points in the modified Stableford PGA Tour event at Montreux to push his two-day total to 26.
Geoff Ogilvy was second. Wes Roach was third at 22, and Tommy Gainey and Tim Wilkinson had 21.
Kyle Stanley from Gig Harbor had 16 points. Michael Putnam from University Place had 11. Former Huskies Richard H. Lee and Alex Prugh missed the cut.
• Tuesday qualifier Marco Dawson shot a 9-under 63 to take the lead in the Champions Tour’s 3M Championship in Blaine, Minn., leaving Bernhard Langer a stroke back five days after the German star’s record-breaking victory in the Senior British Open. Kirk Triplett, a graduate of Pullman High School, shot a 67. Rick Fehr from Seattle had a 73.
• Fabian Gomez shot a 10-under 60 in the Web.com Tour’s Stonebrae Classic, leaving a 25-foot birdie putt short on the final hole at TPC Stonebrae in Hayward, Calif.
• Brady Schnell shot a 13-under 59 at the ATB Financial Classic in Calgary, Alberta, holing out from 122 yards for eagle on the par-4 ninth hole to become the second player in PGA Tour Canada history to break 60. He fell a stroke short of the tour record of 58 set by Jason Bohn on a par-71 course in 2001. Schnell was two strokes behind leader Brock Mackenzie, the former Husky, who was at 16 under. Mackenzie followed his opening 65 with a 63.
• Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will play together in the opening two rounds of the PGA Championship next week at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky.