Sergio Garcia took another important step toward recovering from a troublesome season Thursday with a six-under 65 at Liberty National for a share of the lead at the PGA Tour's the Barclays tournament with Paul Goydos and Steve Marino at Jersey City, N.J.
"We are getting back into it," Garcia said. "Last week was nice. It was good to see ourselves . . . getting that feeling of being out there trying to win a tournament and getting the juices flowing a little bit. We're just looking forward to hopefully finishing the year well here, keep this good momentum going."
Most players would have taken such a score when they first saw Liberty National. The course played significantly shorter, however, with five tees moved forward, and it showed in the scoring. Nearly half the field was at par or better, and some two dozen players shot in the 60s.
Goydos ran off five birdies in a six-hole stretch, which he attributed to great putting and solid wedge play.
"In theory, you have 125 of the best players on the PGA Tour here this week, someone is going to shoot a low round every day," Goydos said. "Today was my chance."
Marino seized on his opportunity, too, getting to seven under until a bogey on his last hole.
They were one shot ahead of a group that included Charley Hoffman, who stumbled in by missing a four-foot birdie putt on No. 8 and having to save bogey with an eight-foot putt on his final hole.
Woods looked solid in his return to the Barclays for the first time in six years, until he lost some control toward the end. Poor tee shots took away easy birdie chances on a pair of par-fives late in his round, and another one led to his lone bogey at No. 7.
Phil Mickelson, a member at Liberty National, made four bogeys in a five-hole stretch around the turn, the meatiest part of the course. He bounced back for a 70.
"I had a great day with my putter," Mickelson said. "I didn't make anything outside 10 feet, but I made everything inside of seven, eight feet. That's critical for me."
Top-seeded Tim Jackson has been toppled at the U.S. Amateur at Tulsa, Okla.
Charlie Holland took out the medalist from the stroke-play portion of the tournament with a 1-up victory. After two rounds Thursday, only one of the top 20 qualifiers is left among the eight golfers who play in the quarterfinals today.