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Garcia, Spieth share lead at Colonial, Mickelson struggles


Sergio Garcia and Jordan Spieth grabbed a share of the lead at the US PGA Tour’s Charles Schwab Challenge on Thursday as Phil Mickelson was introduced again to earth simply days after his record-breaking main win.

Garcia picked up 5 strokes in a four-hole span to hitch Spieth at the highest of the leaderboard after each males carded seven-under-par 63s.

The Spaniard, who lifted the trophy at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2001, adopted birdies at eight, 9 and 10 with an eagle hole-out from a bunker at 11 to surge up the leaderboard.

He completed with 5 birdies in all, tying Spieth for the lead when he rolled in a seven-footer at the fifteenth.

“I’m not going to lie, conditions weren’t easy,” Garcia stated. “Obviously because of the rain, the course wasn’t too firm, even though it firmed up nicely between yesterday and today.

“There had been some powerful holes on the market, however I used to be capable of hit actually good pictures on these holes, and a pair up-and-downs once I wanted them, so very pleased with the best way it went,” added Garcia, who ended

Spieth had set an early target with seven birdies in a bogey-free effort.

The Texan, who ended a near four-year victory drought with a win at the Teas Open in April, has seven to-10 finishes in his last 10 starts and looked right at home on the par-70 Colonial course where he won in 2016.

“It’s laborious to go any decrease,” Spieth said, adding that some work to rectify “unhealthy habits” that had crept into his putting stroke had paid off.

He rolled in a 12-footer at his opening hole, the 10th, and said that was a key confidence builder.

“If I might get a pair to go in early within the first spherical and the boldness and the work I’ve been doing on my stroke the previous few days, which is a considerably important change in a stroke really feel, I believed that might exude just a bit little bit of confidence into the remainder of the spherical on greens the place I’ve been very profitable on earlier than,” he said.

He added a nine-footer at the 12th and a 19-footer at 17 to make the turn three-under.

After a birdie at the second he finished with a flourish with birdies at his last three holes.

That included a chip-in from the rough at the eighth and a crisp wedge that left him a three-foot birdie putt at the ninth.

The leading duo were two strokes in front of Erik Compton and Jason Kokrak.

Compton, who has had two heart transplants, is playing on a sponsor’s exemption and making just his third PGA tour start since 2016.

– Mickelson struggles –

Spieth played alongside Mickelson, who made history on Sunday by winning the PGA Championship to become, at 50, the oldest man to win a major golf title.

Mickelson endured a tough day with five bogeys in his three-over 73.

“I did not play properly. I shot three-over,” Mickelson said, adding: “however I gained the PGA, so …”

On a more serious note, Mickelson said, he had trouble settling into the round.

“So it was virtually like I used to be making an attempt a little bit too laborious, and I wasn’t simply calm and let it occur, and I used to be a little bit bit antsy,” he said. “I’ll work on it. I’m nonetheless optimistic I’ll have an excellent spherical tomorrow, however sadly I sort of shot myself within the foot the primary day, however you by no means know.”

Despite his struggles, Mickelson was met by a chorus of congratulations from fans.

“It feels unimaginable as a result of it has been a very long time since any individual has congratulated me for my play,” he said. “That’s a second, that is per week, that is a match, that is a win that I’ll cherish without end, so I get pleasure from when folks say that.”

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