Tracker: Garcia fires 61 to take lead; Tiger posts 71

Sergio Garcia celebrates his birdie at 18 – his seventh consecutive to end the round – as he shot a 9-under 61 to take the lead at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

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Sergio Garcia made Firestone his personal playground on Friday, running off seven consecutive birdies to finish his round – and eight over his final nine – to card a 9-under 61 that vaulted him to a three-shot lead at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Justin Rose is alone in second at 8 under, while Marc Leishman and Rory McIlroy are T-3 at 7 under. McIlroy posted a 6-under 64.

The morning groups faced tougher conditions, with Tiger Woods struggling to a 1-over 71 that dropped him to 1 under on the tournament and in a share of 25th.

Here's how it all unfolded on Friday:

• • •

Update #8: 5:56 p.m. EDT

Sergio Garcia might want to start the third round tonight, as he concludes an incredible round with his seventh consecutive birdie to get into the clubhouse at 11 under, three clear of the field. Garcia posts a 9-under 61, tying Tiger Woods' course record.

• • •

Update #8: 5:56 p.m. EDT

That's six consecutive birdies for Sergio Garcia after knocking down a 25-footer on No. 17 to move to 10 under. The course record is a 61 set by Tiger Woods last year. Garcia is 8 under on his round.

• • •

Update #7: 5:23 p.m. EDT

Sergio Garcia makes an 8-footer for birdie on No. 15 for this fourth consecutive birdie – and fifth in six holes – to vault into a tie for the lead at 8 under with Justin Rose.

• • •

Update #6: 5 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson's season-long slump is on display again Friday afternoon, as he doubles No. 11 and bogeys No. 13 to move to 4 over on the day and 5 over for the tournament. That puts him 13 shots back of Justin Rose.

• • •

Update #5: 4:55 p.m. EDT

Both through 12 holes in the second round, but on opposite nines, Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan have both moved into contention by going 4 under on their respective rounds, pushing each to 3 under for the tournament. Mahan is bogey-free, while Kuchar has five birdies and a bogey.

• • •

Update #4: 4:28 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy picks up his fourth birdie of the day at No. 8 and makes the turn with a 3-under 32 to move to 4 under on the tournament, four back of co-leaders Justin Rose and Charl Schwartzel.

• • •

Update #3: 4 p.m. EDT

With a birdie at No. 10, Charl Schwartzel has moved into a tie for the lead at 8 under. The South African has three birdies against no bogeys on Friday and still has birdie holes in front of him as he looks to gain the 36-hole lead.

Patrick Reed has moved up to solo fifth behind three birdies over his last four holes, and is now three shots off the lead.

• • •

Update #2: 3:16 p.m. EDT

Make that a birdie-birdie-birdie start for Rory McIlroy, who is now 4 under on the tournament after making a 14-footer on No. 3.

Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson opened with a bogey and followed with three consecutive pars and is 2 over for the championship.

• • •

Update #1: 3:06 p.m. EDT

Fridays haven't been so kind to Rory McIlroy in 2014 – the Open Championship aside – but it's been a good start today for the World No. 2, opening birdie-birdie to move to 3 under on the tournament, five shots back of Justin Rose.

• • •

Hole No. 9: Par 4, 494 yards

Off the tee: Tiger takes another big rip at it with driver and it finds the right rough. The swing, however, is looking better.

From the rough: From just under 190 yards, Tiger tries a unique 5-wood chip shot that comes up short and finds more greenside rough.

Around the green: Chip shot settles 12 feet past the hole, which he'll need to save par.

On the green: Tiger pushes this putt right and picks up a bogey to finish up a 1-over 71.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (1 under overall); T-20, seven off the lead

• • •

Hole No. 8: Par 4, 482 yards

Off the tee: Driver here and Tiger hammers it down the throat of the fairway, his first one hit with the big stick on the day.

From the fairway: After a 363-yard drive, Tiger hits a solid shot into the green, but has 20 feet for birdie.

On the green: Takes his time studying this birdie attempt, only to send it 4 feet past on the right. He knocks that in firmly.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (2 under overall); T-11, six off the lead

Elsewhere on the course: Justin Rose fires a 3-under 67 to get into the clubhouse with the lead at 8 under.

• • •

Hole No. 7: Par 3, 212 yards

Off the tee: First bad iron of the day, sending it well right of the green and into the bunker.

Around the green: Solid sand shot that settles 6 feet past the hole.

On the green: Tiger sneaks it in on the left side of the cup and keeps his momentum.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (2 under overall); T-10, six off the lead

• • •

Hole No. 6: Par 4, 469 yards

Off the tee: Driver again here and he pushes another one right and into the intermediate rough.

From the rough: Tiger finds the green, but is about a club short and will have more than 60 feet for birdie.

On the green: Tiger nearly holes the long birdie attempt, settling 9 inches from the cup and picks up an easy par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (2 under overall); T-10, six off the lead

• • •

Hole No. 5: Par 3, 200 yards

Off the tee: Goes pin-hunting here and settles in the left intermediate, about 15 feet away from the hole.

Around the green: Another birdie here for Tiger, who is seeing his putter get a bit warmer.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (2 under overall); T-10, six off the lead

• • •

Hole No. 4: Par 4, 471 yards

Off the tee: Driver here again for Tiger and he just gets into the left rough.

From the rough: Tiger takes aim at the back right pin, and trickles into the rough just beyond the green. Aggressive play there.

Around the green: Chip rolls about 4 feet past the hole.

On the green: Tiger rolls this one in to save par and stay in the red.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (1 under overall); T-19, seven off the lead

Elsewhere on the course: Justin Rose birdies No. 5 to move to 8 under and takes the outright lead, one ahead of Marc Leishman, who is in with a 1-under 69.

• • •

Hole No. 3: Par 4, 442 yards

Off the tee: Fairway metal here and he finds another fairway, this time on the right side.

From the fairway: A good approach here to about 18 feet right of the hole.

On the green: And he finally gets one for his first birdie since his opening hole today. Back into red figures overall.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (1 under overall); T-19, six off the lead

• • •

Hole No. 2: Par 5, 526 yards

Off the tee: This is Tiger's best scoring opportunity of the day, so he'll need to take advantage. It doesn't start well though, as he pushes his driver right and into a bunker.

Second shot: Blasts it out back to the fairway, setting up longish third shot.

Third shot: Leaves it short and right and in another bunker.

Around the green: Tries to be delicate, and leaves it in the rough. His fifth shot is a chip and it runs 5 feet past.

On the green: He makes the putt for a very poor bogey on what is a birdie hole.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 over (Even overall); T-27, seven off the lead

• • •

Hole No. 1: Par 4, 399 yards

Despite hitting only 1-of-7 fairways Friday, Tiger has had his chances to make a move at the leaders. His putter is the problem today.

Off the tee: Iron here and he finds the left side of the fairway, about 150 yards out. Nice way to start his second nine.

From the fairway: A green hit and he'll have about 20 feet from the right for birdie.

On the green: A two-putt par for Tiger and his par train continues to run.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (1 under overall); T-18, six off the lead

Elsewhere on the course: Rickie Fowler eagles the par-5 second hole to vault to 4 under, just three off the lead.

• • •

Hole No. 18: Par 4, 464 yards

Off the tee: Driver here again for Tiger, pounding it about 330 yards, but it finds the left rough.

From the rough (just barely): Another great wedge shot, as Tiger will have about 10 feet from right of the hole for another great look at birdie.

On the green: Miss. On the right side. Again. Tiger had a chance to turn around his opening nine, but missed three birdie opportunities inside 12 feet on Nos. 16-18.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (1 under overall); T-17, six off the lead

Elsewhere on the course: Justin Rose has joined Marc Leishman in the lead at 7 under. Rose won twice in July.

• • •

Hole No. 17: Par 4, 400 yards

Off the tee: It took eight holes, but Tiger finally finds a fairway, using iron to come to rest in the short grass. That's 1-for-6 on the day.

From the fairway (first time typing that today): Hitting the short grass leads to a fantastic shot to 6 feet right of the hole. Great birdie look coming up.

On the green: Wasted chance. A bad read by Tiger here, pushing it right and he settles for a fourth consecutive par. That's back-to-back missed opportunities.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (1 under overall); T-17, six off the lead

• • •

Hole No. 16: Par 5, 667 yards

Off the tee: Well, it's not left this time, but it's well right this time, and he'll have tree troubles. He has yet to hit a fairway today.

From the rough: Tiger hits a nice shot about 100 yards short of the green, finding the right side of the fairway.

Third shot: Tiger hits a nice wedge to about 12 feet right of the hole.

On the green: Tiger sends his birdie putt about 2 feet past and he picks up another par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (1 under overall); T-17, six off the lead

• • •

Hole No. 15: Par 3, 221 yards

Off the tee: Tiger finds the front portion of the green, but will have 30 feet for birdie.

On the green: The birdie putt is again never on line, but a simple par to remain five back. Iron game saving Tiger currently, as driver and putter are both ice cold.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (1 under overall); T-18, five off the lead

• • •

Hole No. 14: Par 4, 467 yards

Off the tee: Tiger is 0-for-3 on fairways hit through four holes, putting him in complete scramble mode. He takes driver again here and he's now 0-for-4, finding a fairway bunker on the left.

From the bunker: Tiger does manage to find the green here, but will have about 35 feet for birdie.

On the green: Tiger's birdie putt is never quite firm enough and leaves himself nearly 3 feet on the right to save par. He does make that for a par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (1 under for tournament); T-20, five shots off lead

• • •

Hole No. 13: Par 4, 471 yards

Off the tee: Driver here and yet another tee ball that sails way left. Will need to scramble at one of the course's toughest holes.

From the rough: Has to lay up again with his second shot, finding the right side of the fairway.

Third shot: Tiger plays another nice one to about 7 feet.

On the green: Tricky putt here and Tiger misses it on the left for his second bogey of the opening four holes.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (1 under overall); T-20, five off the lead

• • •

Hole No. 12: Par 3, 180 yards

Off the tee: Tiger has been mighty good with his irons and this shot is no different, sticking it to about 12 feet left of the pin.

On the green: Tiger just misses this birdie on the left side, tapping in for a par. Yesterday, he went 3-for-3 in responding to a bogey with a birdie. He's 0-for-1 today.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (2 under overall); T-12, four off the lead

• • •

Hole No. 11: Par 4, 418 yards

Off the tee: Tiger goes well left with his tee ball and is messing with the long rough again.

From the rough: Getting to the green isn't an option, so he lays up to about 95 yards.

Third shot: Tiger plays a nice wedge to about 5 feet.

On the green: Tiger can't get this one to drop, pulling the putt and he drops a shot.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (2 under overall); T-11, three shots back

• • •

Hole No. 10: Par 4, 410 yards

Off the tee: Tiger starts his round with a fairway metal off the 10th tee, and it hugs the left side of the fairway and settles just into the rough.

From the rough: Tiger nearly holes out, leaving it about 2 feet from the hole.

On the green: Easy birdie here for Tiger and he's now within two of the lead.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (3 under overall); T-6, two shots off lead

• • •

Thursday's coverage

5 Things: Leishman leads; Tiger 4 back; more

With his best round since a 3-under 69 to begin the Open Championship, Tiger Woods carded a 2-under 68 Thursday in the first round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational as Marc Leishman took the lead. Ryan Moore, Justin Rose and Charl Schwartzel are second with a trio of 65s. Moore and Schwartzel had set the pace early, but find themselves trailing Leishman's 6-under 64 – with a certain 14-time major champion lurking.

Tracker: Leishman leads, Tiger 4 back after 68

Tiger Woods fired a 2-under 68 on Thursday at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, sitting four shots back of 18-hole leader Marc Leishman. Woods, the defending champion, had six birdies, two bogeys and a double-bogey in his best round since returning from back surgery. He is T-9 in the 72-player field. "I just need to get reps in. It just takes time," Woods told Golf Channel. "It's been building. Today was a lot better."

• • •

Preview coverage

Scott, Woods among expert picks for WGC-Bridgestone

Jim Furyk earns multiple mentions as a contender at this week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, although he's not a favorite as World No. 1 Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth are. Check out the rest of our experts' picks!

Woods on his swing: "I can't turn that far"

Tiger Woods not only has the challenge of excelling again after back surgery. He has the hurdle of doing so with a different swing. Different as in shorter. So-called swing experts have made much of the fact that the 14-time major winner’s motion has looked more compact in his six PGA Tour rounds since March 31 microdiscectomy.

What does Woods need to earn FedEx Cup spot?

Because only the top 125 will qualify for The Barclays, Tiger Woods almost assuredly has to have a combination of finishes worth about 400 points to make the top 125 – say, third in this week's WGC-Bridgestone and third again in next week's PGA Championship.

Best cumulative score in majors? So far, Fowler

Though Bubba Watson, Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy would take what they’ve done in the major championships thus far in 2014 – after all, winning is the goal, isn’t it? – Rickie Fowler has played consistently best. At least according to his scores, because he’s 18 under for his 12 rounds in the 2014 majors. Of the 19 who have made the cut in all three majors, Fowler is the only one with three top 10s (T-5 in the Masters, T-2 in the U.S. Open and Open Championship).

Notes: Bubble boy Watney bets on Reno

Stuart Appleby and Robert Allenby combined for 25 starts in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but they’re both teeing it up this week in something called the Barracuda Championship ( the former Reno-Tahoe Open) – Nick Watney is another who is making a rare opposite-field appearance while sitting 124th in the FedEx Cup standings.

Tiger Woods on British Open: "So many mistakes"

Tiger Woods, appearing Tuesday on Fox Sports 1, detailed how he made "so many mistakes" during his recent British Open play. Speaking with Colleen Dominguez on Fox Sports Live, Woods said the troubles were a continuation of disappointing play in his own Quicken Loans National, where he missed the cut. “Well, I didn’t hit the ball very well; that’s just plain and simple – I made so many mistakes," Woods said. "When I first came back at Congressional I made a ton of mistakes there as well. My thought process was off.

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