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Sergio Garcia thrilled with bogey-free round at US Open

Sergio Garcia took full advantage of his late call-up into the 124th US Open with a rare bogey-free round at Pinehurst.

Garcia was in danger of missing out on a 25th straight appearance in golf's toughest major when he lost out in a seven-for-six play-off in final qualifying in Dallas, the former Masters champion making a bogey on the first extra hole.

However, as first alternate the Spaniard was always likely to gain a place in the field and found out on Monday morning that he would indeed get to contest his third US Open at the North Carolina venue.

Garcia, who finished third behind Michael Campbell in 2005, was among the early starters in round one on Thursday and became just the sixth player to card a bogey-free round in a US Open at Pinehurst with 17 pars and one birdie.

The last time Garcia went bogey-free in the first round of a major was in the 2017 Masters, which he went on to win.

"Obviously to shoot under par in a US Open, which is a championship that I love, it's always great," Garcia said. "To go bogey-free is even greater. It's something that I give a lot of respect to, and I'm very proud of.

"I've had the pleasure of playing this championship 25 years in a row and not a lot of people get to do that, so I'm very, very happy to be here and that's why I keep trying to qualify and make it here.

"Very happy about the way I played, the way I managed my game throughout the whole round, and how patient I stayed all day.

"I tried to stay very calm and very committed to what I wanted to do, which was to hit a lot of greens and give myself a lot of outside chances for birdie and hope that you get one of those days when you make three or four, and then it's an amazing day.

"You don't, like today, it's still a great day.

"I've always liked US Opens because I don't feel like you have to birdie every hole. If you're making a lot of pars you're not losing really much ground, other than a couple of venues that we played in the last maybe seven or eight years.

"I think that on a course like this you can celebrate a lot of pars and that's what we were doing today."

American Patrick Cantlay had set the pace with an opening 65, but Garcia feels his own total of one under could be close to the winning total on Sunday.

"All of these players are so good," Garcia said. "There's always going to be someone that has the kind of day that hits the ball great, everything goes his way, makes a couple of bombs, and you can shoot 66 or 65.

"Are we going to see it consistently? If it doesn't rain, I don't think so. I think if you're able to stay around par, maybe one under like I did today, I don't think you're going to be far away."

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