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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Golf: Garcia's hot form goes cold in Barcelona

Trevor Fisher Jr
Trevor Fisher Jr

Pre-tournament favourite Sergio Garcia gave himself a mountain to climb to challenge for a second Open de Espana title after a poor opening round.

Garcia, who came into the event on the back of losing a play-off for the Players Championship on Sunday, could only manage a three-over-par 75 at El Prat to finish 10 shots behind leader Trevor Fisher of South Africa. The world number seven carded six bogeys and three birdies in the tougher afternoon conditions, although Darren Fichardt was also among the later starters and shot 66 to join England's Tommy Fleetwood and home favourite Eduardo de la Riva in joint second.

After a long flight from Johannesburg on Monday, Fisher only managed nine holes of practice on Tuesday before walking the rest of the course during the pre-tournament pro-am. However, that did not prevent the world number 172 from carding eight birdies and just one bogey in an opening 65 in pursuit of his second European Tour title of the season following victory in the Africa Open in March.

Fleetwood had two eagles and three birdies in his 66 as he looks to remain inside the world's top 60 after next week's BMW PGA Championship in order to qualify for next month's US Open.

Defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez, whose victory 12 months ago extended his record as the oldest winner in European Tour history, had been two under after five holes but eventually had to settle for a level-par 72.

Michael Hoey was best of the Irish on one under par with Peter Lawrie two over and Damien McGrane four over.

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