Sergio Garcia made an eagle, avoided an alligator and wound up in a share of the lead Thursday in the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Garcia holed out with an 8-iron from 142 yards into the wind on the second hole for an eagle, and he narrowly missed an eagle putt on the 18th hole at PGA National. The Spaniard shot 5-under 65 and shared the lead with Michael Thompson, the 2013 Honda Classic winner, who also birdied the last hole. They were 1 shot ahead of Rickie Fowler and William McGirt.
The biggest excitement for Garcia was on the par-4 sixth hole, where he made his lone bogey.
His tee shot found the water left of the fairway, shallow enough for him to roll up his pants and try to play it out to the fairway. That part was easy. He looked over his shoulder because of an alligator on the island, making sure it wasn’t going anywhere soon.
And he was happy with other 60 strokes he took on a typical windy day at PGA National.
Lexi Thompson had two eagles in an 8-under 64 Thursday to take a 1-stroke lead over Q Baek at the LPGA Tour’s Thailand tournament in Chonburi, Thailand.
Amy Yang, the defending champion, shot 66 and was 2 strokes behind after the first round.
Two golfers were tied for fourth after opening 68s — Azahara Munoz and Jenny Shin.
“Two eagles definitely helps out the scorecard,” Thompson said. “We couldn’t have asked for better conditions, weather-wise and golf course, so just happy to be out here.”
The 20-year-old Baek won her first and only LPGA title on home soil in South Korea in 2014.
American Peter Uihlein shot a 7-under 65 to take a 1-stroke lead after the first round of the Perth International in Australia.
India’s Shiv Kapur, recovering from a shoulder injury, and Romain Wattel of France shot 66s, both in morning groups when the conditions were more conducive to low scoring.
Australian Rhein Gibson was in fourth place after a 67, while Australian Brett Rumford and Northern Ireland’s Cormac Sharvin were among those 3 strokes behind after 68s on the Lake Karrinyup Country Club course.
Uihlein was among the few afternoon starters to move up the leaderboard in tough, blustery conditions.
Ladies European Tour
Brooke Henderson birdied her first three holes and the final one Thursday for a 6-under 67 and a share of the first-round lead at the Australian Ladies Masters in Gold Coast, Australia.
The 18-year-old Canadian, at No. 11 the highest-ranked player in the field, started on the back nine at Royal Pines. She had seven birdies overall.
Henderson set the pace in the morning rounds and finished level with Denmark’s Nicole Broch Larson and France’s Marion Ricordeau.