• WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

Garcia sets Firestone alight as Rory keeps in touch

ESPN staff
August 1, 2014
Sergio Garcia's back nine consisted of 27 shots © Getty Images

Sergio Garcia tied the course record at Firestone by closing with seven straight birdies for a 9-under 61 to lead the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational after round two.

The record-tying round on Friday gave Garcia a three-shot lead over Justin Rose, who earlier carded a 3-under 67, going into the weekend action.

The Spaniard broke the record on the back nine with a superb score of 27. He ended his day in style, making a 25-foot putt on the 17th hole and a 20-footer on the 18th for birdie. Phil Mickelson, who played with Garcia, took off his cap and bumped fists with Garcia.

The only hole on the back nine on which Garcia did not make birdie was the 11th, where he missed from 15 feet just off the green. It puts Garcia in great shape to try to capture his first WGC title.

Tiger Woods finds himself 10 shots off the lead having admitted he "didn't do anything well" during his second round, while Rory McIlroy moved within four shots of the lead with a marvellous round of 64.

The Open champion found himself in fine fettle around the Firestone course and quickly found himself 3-under in his opening three holes.

A solid back nine for the Ulsterman - which included birdies at 17 and 18 - ensured McIlroy is well in the hunt ahead of Saturday's third round.

Marc Leishman is 7-under after his second visit of 69, while Rickie Fowler put himself in contention at 6-under with an impressive round of 67.

Masters champion Bubba Watson struggled and did well to make an even-par 70 to stay at 1-under for the tournament, but Graeme McDowell is well off the pace at 1-over.

Luke Donald made three birdies and three bogeys in his even-par round to stay 3-over alongside fellow Englishman Lee Westwood, who endured a mixed bag 71. Westwood carded five bogeys and four birdies in his erratic round.

Phil Mickelson, who has been paired with Woods for the opening two rounds of the PGA Championship next week, carded a double bogey six at the 11th as he laboured to a 3-over round of 73 to slip back to 4-over.

Ian Poulter is a further two shots behind on 6-over following his second 73 of the week.

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