CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. — Sergio Garcia hit great shots that led to eagle, birdie and par Friday. They carried him to a 6-under 64, giving him a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the BMW Championship on ever-changing Cherry Hills.
Garcia holed out from a greenside bunker for birdie on the second hole. He holed a lob wedge for eagle on the short, par-4 seventh hole. And after hitting into the water going for the green on the par-5 17th hole, he escaped with par by getting up-and-down with a wedge to a foot.
He needed them all.
Ryan Palmer also made eagle with a short wedge on the seventh hole, and he finished birdie-birdie for a 64 to end up a shot behind.
Rory McIlroy made three straight birdies late in his round and left his last putt on the edge of the cup.
The late surge gave the world’s No. 1 player another 67 and put him two shots behind. Billy Horschel, a runner-up last week at the TPC Boston, had a 66 and was tied with McIlroy.
Garcia was at 8-under 132.
Barring a charge that would make even Arnold Palmer proud, Phil Mickelson is playing his last PGA Tour event of the season. He twice hit into the water — making a triple bogey on the par-3 12th and a bogey on the 17th — and shot a 76. Mickelson, who needs to finish about fourth to qualify for the Tour Championship, was 14 shots behind and in a tie for 63rd in the 68-man field.
The top 30 advance to the Tour Championship for a shot at the $10 million bonus.
beck leads qUEBEC CHAMPIONSHIP by one shot: In Quebec City, Chip Beck eagled his final hole for a 7-under 65 and a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Champions Tour’s Quebec Championship.
The 57-year-old Beck, winless on the 50-and-over tour, hit his 3-wood approach from 256 yards to a foot to set up the eagle on the par-5 ninth hole.
The four-time PGA Tour winner also had six birdies and a bogey at La Tempete in the first PGA Tour-sanctioned event in the area since the 1956 Labatt Open at Royal Quebec.
Duffy Waldorf and Craig Thomas were tied for second. Thomas, a club professional at Metropolis in White Plains, New York, went through two stages of qualifying to get into the field.
Brad Faxon, Loren Roberts and P.H. Horgan III followed at 67. Esteban Toledo, the winner last year in the then-Montreal Championship at La Vallee du Richelieu, opened with a 68.
Two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen had a 71 in his first Champions Tour round. He turned 50 last week.
LEADER FATHAUER CARDS SECOND STRAIGHT 66 AT CHIQUITA CLASSIC:
In Davidson, N.C., Derek Fathauer shot his second straight 6-under 66 to take the second-round lead in the Chiquita Classic, the second of four events in the Web.com Tour Finals.
Fathauer, 12th on the Web.com Tour’s regular-season money list to secure a 2014-15 PGA Tour card, had seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch from No. 17 to No. 6 at River Run Country Club.
The top 25 players on the Web.com money list are competing against each other for PGA Tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals and the final leader getting a spot in The Players Championship. The other players — Nos. 26-75 from the Web.com Tour money list and Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings — are fighting for another 25 cards based on their earnings in the four tournaments.
RAMSEY SETTING PACE AT EUROPEAN MASTERS: In Crans-Montana, Switzerland, Scotland’s Richie Ramsay shot a 4-under 66 in morning rain in the European Masters to take a one-stroke lead over Wales’ Jamie Donaldson.
Ramsey, the 2012 winner, had a 12-under 128 total on Crans-sur-Sierre’s Seve Ballesteros Championship Course. Donaldson, a member of the European Ryder Cup team, had a 64.
American Brooks Koepka and England’s Graeme Storm were 10 under. Koepka had a 65, and Storm had a 66. American David Lipsky was another stroke back after a 64.