Sergio Garcia doesn't know anything about being in a zone. He had no trouble identifying the best round of his career.

Garcia one-putted the final 11 holes and made birdies on his last seven holes Friday in the Bridgestone Invitational to tie the course record at Firestone with a 9-under 61 and take a three-shot lead into the weekend in Akron, Ohio.

He had a birdie putt on every hole on the back nine, missing only a 15-footer from the fringe at No. 11. Garcia shot 27 on the back nine, a course record.

"Just one of those moments that you love and you enjoy, and you wish there were no end," he said.

It matched the tournament record held by Tiger Woods, who shot 61 in 2000 and 2013, and Jose Maria Olazabal.

Garcia was at 11-under 129, three shots clear of Justin Rose, who had a 67. British Open champion Rory McIlroy birdied his last two holes for a 64 and joined Marc Leishman of Australia (67) four shots out of the lead. Woods (71) is 10 shots back.

Garcia was five shots out of the lead when he had to scramble to save pars on back-to-back holes to close out the front nine on what seemed to be an ordinary round. Two good swings on the 10th hole led to a 20-foot birdie putt. He hit 8-iron to 2 feet on No. 12 and 3 feet on No. 13, and those turned out to be the start of his big run.

The Spaniard finished in style, making birdie putts of 15, 25 and 20 feet on his last three holes.


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PGA Championship: Woods and Phil Mickelson will play together in the opening two rounds of the PGA Championship next week at Valhalla. The PGA Championship released its tee times for the final major of the year. Padraig Harrington will be joining Woods and Mickelson.

PGA Tour: Nick Watney increased his lead to three points over Geoff Ogilvy in the Barracuda Championship, scoring eight points in the modified Stableford event at Montreux to push his two-day total to 26 in Reno, Nevada.

Champions Tour: Tuesday qualifier Marco Dawson shot a 9-under 63 to take the lead in the 3M Championship in Blaine, Minnesota, leaving Bernhard Langer (62) a stroke back five days after the German star's record-breaking victory in the Senior British Open.

Web.com: Fabian Gomez shot a 10-under 60 in the Stonebrae Classic, leaving a 25-foot birdie putt short on the final hole at TPC Stonebrae, good for a 14-under 126 total and a one-stroke lead over Blayne Barber (64).

Five players have shot 59 on the We3b.com Tour.

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