AKRON, Ohio — Sergio Garcia doesn’t know anything about being in a zone. He 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 in the Bridgestone Invitational to tie the course record at Firestone with a 9-under 61 and take a three-shot lead.
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.
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.
Garcia was at 11-under 129, three shots clear of Justin Rose (67). British Open champion Rory McIlroy birdied his last two holes for a 64 and joined Marc Leishman (67) four shots out of the lead.
Garcia’s previous best score was a 62 on three other occasions.
Woods also shot his 61s at Firestone in the second round. He could have used something remotely close to that to stay in range of Garcia. Instead, Woods hit only four fairways off the tee and couldn’t seem to make anything on the green. It added to a 71, leaving him 10 shots behind.
PGA says Johnson is not under suspension
AKRON, Ohio — The PGA Tour is refuting a report that Dustin Johnson has been suspended.
Johnson said in a statement Thursday he was taking a leave of absence to seek professional help for “personal challenges” that brought an end to his season. Johnson will miss the PGA Championship, the FedEx Cup playoffs and the Ryder Cup.
Golf.com reported Friday that the tour had suspended Johnson for six months for failing a drug test. The website cited a source it did not identify.
The PGA Tour has a policy of not commenting on disciplinary actions. But it issued a statement Friday afternoon to clarify that Johnson has taken a leave of absence “and is not under a suspension from the PGA Tour.”
RENO, Nev. — Nick Watney increased his lead to three points Friday in the Barracuda Championship, scoring eight points in the modified Stableford event at Montreux to push his two-day total to 26.
BLAINE, Minn. — Tuesday qualifier Marco Dawson shot a 9-under 63 to take the lead in the 3M Championship, leaving Bernhard Langer a stroke back five days after the German’s victory in the Senior British Open.