CARNOUSTIE, Scotland (Reuters) - Sergio Garcia all but shot himself out of the title equation with a 75 at the British Open on Thursday but there was some consolation for the 2017 U.S. Masters champion as he conjured one of the strokes of the day.
The 38-year-old Spaniard, benefiting from the huge carries afforded by the rock-hard fairways, crunched a 400-yard drive at the par-four 10th hole that landed in the infamous Barry Burn that snakes its way round the Carnoustie links.
Undaunted, Garcia hopped into the hazard and delighted the crowd by almost making the putting surface 65 yards ahead after splashing his ball out of the water.
“There was one little rock behind the ball,” he told reporters after his four-over-par round left him nine strokes off the pace set by American Kevin Kisner. “If that little rock had not been there I’m sure I could have got on the green.
“I was hoping it was going to come out fairly straight (but) it came out left and then it went in the bunker.”
Garcia could not get his ball up to the flag with his third stroke and eventually had to settle for a bogey five.
“The way I hit my driver I never thought it was going to get to the burn,” he said. “It’s funny, I wish I would have got the bounce I got on nine.
“On nine I hit a beautiful drive in the middle of the fairway and it took a huge hop to the right and went in the rough. It was just one of those days.”
Garcia was pipped for the title when golf’s oldest major was last staged at Carnoustie 11 years ago, losing out to Ireland’s Padraig Harrington in a playoff.
“I felt like I fought hard today,” he said. “I got a couple of iffy bounces, made a couple of bogeys and it put me a little bit behind the eight-ball.”
Editing by Toby Davis