Garcia leads in Spain; Round 1 suspended

Sergio Garcia plays his approach shot on the ninth hole during the first round of the Castello Masters Costa Azahar.

Sergio Garcia plays his approach shot on the ninth hole during the first round of the Castello Masters Costa Azahar.

CASTELLON, Spain – Defending champion Sergio Garcia was leading the Castello Masters after an 8-under 63 on Thursday, when wind interrupted play and half the field failed to complete the first round.

Gusts of up to 40 mph forced the players off the Club de Campo del Mediterraneo course for three hours at lunchtime.

Garcia was on his second-to-last hole when the round was suspended. He returned to birdie No. 8 but bogeyed the last.

“You never like to finish like that, but other than that it was pretty solid and I made some nice putts,” he said. “We get a wind like that only three or four days a year – and usually on those days we chill at home.”

The Spaniard, playing on his home course where his father is the club pro, is hoping to retain a title for the first time in his professional career.

He held a one-shot clubhouse lead over Sweden’s Michael Jonzon. Australia’s Robert Allenby was also at 7 under but through 11 holes.

Jose Maria Olazabal and Italy’s Emanuele Canonica were at 6 under.

Masters champion Angel Cabrera was disqualified for missing his tee time.

Cabrera was runner-up on Wednesday in the Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda. He planned to catch an overnight flight to Spain, and he was helped by an afternoon start. But after a series of delays, along with the strong wind, not even a private helicopter once he landed could get him to the course on time.

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