Garcia fires 64, leads Palmer by 1 at BMW

After rain overnight, Cherry Hills softened considerably and players were able to take full advantage during the second round of the BMW Championship. Here’s how things look at the halfway point in Denver, where Sergio Garcia holds a one-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Sergio Garcia (-8), Ryan Palmer (-7), Rory McIlroy (-6), Billy Horschel (-6), Graham DeLaet (-4), Bubba Watson (-4), Hideki Matsuyama (-4)

What it means: Garcia skipped last week’s Deutsche Bank Championship, and the decision to rest appears to be paying off. The Spaniard blitzed Cherry Hills for a 6-under 64. After a string of three straight runner-up finishes earlier this season, he is now in position to nab his first PGA Tour win since the 2012 Wyndham Championship.

Round of the day: Garcia started slowly, but his round was sparked by a hole-out eagle at No. 7. Although he bogeyed the next hole, Garcia closed with four birdies across his final eight holes. A 13-foot birdie putt on the home hole allowed him to pull ahead of Palmer after 36 holes.

Best of the rest: After contending last week at TPC Boston, Palmer’s name is again near the top of the leaderboard after he matched Garcia with a 6-under 64 of his own. His scorecard included six birdies, two bogeys and an eagle, as Palmer closed with four birdies in his final six holes to share low round of the day honors.

Biggest disappointment: It appears increasingly likely that Phil Mickelson will miss the Tour Championship for the first time in the playoff era. Mickelson struggled to a 6-over 76, highlighted by a triple bogey on No. 12, to fall into a tie for 63rd. Mickelson made only one birdie and will likely finish the season without a win for the first time since 2003.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: Garcia certainly knows how to play with the lead, but just last month he held an advantage at Firestone only to see McIlroy pull ahead in the final round. It appears that unless Garcia remains aggressive, a similar situation could play out this weekend.

Shot of the day: Garcia’s tee shot found the left rough on No. 7, but from there he made quick work of things. His wedge from 125 yards took one bounce and found the bottom of the hole, an improbable eagle that came on the heels of Garcia holing out from the bunker for birdie on No. 2.

Quote of the day: “I guess I had a couple bonuses out there today.” – Garcia on his front-nine hole-outs

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