(Reuters) - Sergio Garcia shot a solid three-under-par 69 in the Spanish Open first round on Thursday to move into a share of second place in his home tournament.
After finishing third in the Players Championship in Florida on Sunday, the world number seven made two early birdies and an eagle before hanging on over the closing holes to take an early share of the clubhouse lead.
“I’m happy with my round,” Garcia told the European Tour website. “I didn’t have the greatest night last night and only slept for about four hours with the jet-lag.
“I didn’t feel extremely well with my swing but I managed to put it in play and give myself some good chances at birdies.
“The course is tough and the fairways are some of the tightest we have played all year,” added the 34-year-old Garcia who won the Spanish Open 12 years ago.
England’s Eddie Pepperell made five birdies in a round of 68 to take a one-shot lead from a group of players including Garcia, veteran Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez and Dutchman Robert-Jan Derksen.
Writing by Ed Osmond in London, editing by Ken Ferris