Garcia takes two-stroke lead over McGinley on Day I

Carnoustie, July 20:

Sergio Garcia slayed his Carnoustie demons and left Tiger Woods trailing in his wake as he topped the leaderboard at the British Open on Thursday.

The Spaniard, playing immaculate golf on a course that had reduced him to tears when it last hosted the Open in 1999, shot a six-under 65 to lead by two strokes from Irish Paul McGinley.

In the chasing group on three under, Rory McIlroy, an 18-year-old amateur from Northern Ireland, rubbed shoulders with Angel Cabrera and Michael Campbell, as well as Markus Brier.

Woods was a shot further back, level with KJ Choi and Padraig Harrington among others. But it was much more of a struggle for Phil Mickelson (71), Ernie Els (72) and Vijay Singh (73) while the home fans were given little cheer as Colin Montgomerie and the 1999 winner Paul Lawrie both posted 73’s.

Garcia’s display was 24 shots better than the 89 with which he began his first major tournament as a professional. After a second round 83 that left him in last place, the Spaniard, then only 19, left the course weeping in the arms of his mother, but he claimed he had only once cast his mind back to 1999.