By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- A year ago, Sergio Garcia rode the momentum of his victory at the Wyndham Championship into the FedExCup Playoffs and nearly emerged with a second straight win at The Barclays.
Garcia led by two entering the final round at Bethpage Black but Nick Watney closed with a 69 to the Spaniard's 75 and ended up winning for the fifth time on TOUR. Even so, Garcia went on to finish 17th in the FedExCup, which was his best finish since the current points system was adopted in 2009 -- by 21 spots.
This is a new year and a different venue but Garcia is playing well again at The Barclays, firing a bogey-free 66 on Friday that moved him within three shots of webb Simpson's lead at the midway point of the second round. Garcia made three birdies and drained a 46-footer for eagle at the sixth hole on a windswept day at Liberty National.
"The only good thing about it was that the course was still soft from yesterday's rain, but it was quite windy," Garcia said. "So it was difficult to hit it close to some of the pins. Some of the pins were quite tucked, but I was able to hit two or three shots that were very, very close, some good birdie opportunities.
"I rolled a couple really good putts, and obviously the long bomb on 6 for eagle."
Garcia ended up playing 30 holes on Friday after two delays of nearly six hours forced a marathon first round that spilled over into the next day. The 33-year-old was playing in the afternoon wave on Thursday and as it turned out didn't tee off until 5:40 p.m. ET.
"Yesterday at 1:30, it got to the point where I couldn't stay in the room anymore," Garcia reported. "I did a little bit of bike and I just couldn't really stay anymore, so I came here and I just waited it out until we got to tee off. ... So it was a long day, not easy.
"I would rather have a day like today, I would rather play too much than too little, because at least you get in a rhythm. When you've been waiting all day and you only play like five or six holes at six in the afternoon, you feel like the whole day has gone and you've pretty much done nothing."
Garcia has hit 22 of 28 faiarways and 24 of 36 greens in regulation over the first two rounds while using 52 putts. He said he expects the course to get firmer as the weekend progresses -- particularly if the wind off the Hudson River continues to blow.
"The course will get faster as the week goes on if it doesn't rain, and it will get more difficult," Garcia said. "Even though there's not much rough, there's a lot of danger out there on all those tee shots and you have to be careful with where you position your ball."