CHERRY, HILLS VILLAGE – 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 was 14 shots behind and in a tie for 63rd in the 68-man field.
Jason Day withdrew on the ninth hole with a back injury and said he would try to be ready for the Tour Championship.
Masters champion Bubba Watson shot 66 and was in the group at 4-under 136 that included Graham DeLaet of Canada and Hideki Matsuyama, who came into the week at No. 30 in the FedEx Cup.