PGA Tour: Sergio Garcia six back as Sahith Theegala leads Sanderson Farms Championship | Golf News

Garcia is making his first PGA Tour start of the new 2021-22 season, just days after featuring in Europe’s record-breaking Ryder Cup defeat; Spaniard carded two birdies on his way to a bogey-free 70 on Thursday

Last Updated: 01/10/21 6:54am

Sergio Garcia sits tied 50th after the opening round in Mississippi

Sergio Garcia sits tied 50th after the opening round in Mississippi

Sergio Garcia sits six shots off lead despite making a bogey-free start to his title defence at the Sanderson Farms Championship.

The Spaniard, who claimed his 11th PGA Tour victory with a one-shot win over Peter Malnati in last year’s contest, opened with a two-under 70 in overcast conditions at Country Club of Jackson.

Garcia’s only two birdies came when he took advantage of the par-five fifth and rolled in from 10 feet at the par-four 15th, leaving him in tied-50th and a long way behind early pacesetter Sahith Theegala.

Sahith Theegala posted eight birdies to sit top of the leaderboard

Sahith Theegala posted eight birdies to sit top of the leaderboard

“Very happy about not making bogeys,” Garcia said. “Obviously that’s always a very positive thing, first round of the season bogey-free, very proud of that. At the same time, I feel like I drove the ball quite well and didn’t take a lot of, didn’t take advantage of it.

“Didn’t hit my irons badly, but I just didn’t hit them close enough and I was always pretty much all day in that 15 to 25-foot range. Hit some really good putts that looked like they were going to go in and didn’t.”

Theegala moved top of the leaderboard after following four birdies in his opening five holes by holing a 35-footer at the par-four 18th, with the PGA Tour rookie posting back-to-back gains from the second and then signing off his blemish-free start with a 15-foot birdie at the ninth.

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The 23-year-old holds a one-shot advantage over compatriots Nick Watney and Harold Varner III, with Kurt Kitayama a further stroke back in tied-fourth with Canadian Roger Sloan and South Korea’s Si Woo Kim.

Scotland’s Martin Laird heads the British contingent after starting his week with a three-under 69, while Russell Knox and England’s Callum Tarren are both in the group on one under.

Watch the Sanderson Farms Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues Friday with Featured Groups from 1pm via the red button, ahead of full coverage from 9pm.

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