Sergio Garcia got his Open bid off to a solid start courtesy of a two-under 68 at Royal St George’s – thanks, in part, to some quick-thinking coppers!
The former Masters champion’s birdie-birdie finish left him nicely placed to mount a challenge for the Claret Jug and just four shots off the early pace set by Louis Oosthuizen.
However, he revealed that his championship could have been over before it had begun after he got stuck in traffic en route to the course this morning.
Fortunately, local police officers on motorcycles came to the Spaniard’s rescue and cleared a route for him to make by the skin of his teeth ahead of his 10.31am tee time.
“It was a nice round, very happy with it,” said Garcia. “Obviously, very happy with the finish. Even happier after how the morning started.
“Because of terrible traffic coming in, even though I left the house with plenty of time, I needed a little bit of help from a couple very nice English policemen on the bikes to get me here with only about 35, 40 minutes to tee off, when usually I like to be here around an hour-and-a-half, hour and 25 before.
“We just got stuck. We couldn't move and, thankfully, they helped us a little bit and got us here on time. I was able to do a very quick practice, very quick warm-up, but it worked out okay because I played nicely.”
Garcia, twice a runner-up in The Open, is looking to add the Claret Jug to the Masters title he won in 2017. Three more rounds like the one he shot today and you would expect him to be right in the mix.
“Obviously if you start nicely, it gives you a little bit more confidence,” he added. “You relax a little bit more. I'm very excited about that. Obviously I felt like I hit a lot of good shots out there. I made some good putts here and there. Overall it was a good solid day and I'm excited to keep going more, doing more of the same.”