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Sergio Garcia did something Thursday that only five U.S. Open players have done before

PINEHURST, N.C. – Sergio Garcia was one of the last players into this U.S. Open field, clinching his 25th straight start at this national championship on Monday morning as an alternate out of the Dallas final qualifier.

He was the first player to card a bogey-free round.

The 44-year-old Spaniard became just the sixth person ever to go without a bogey in a U.S. Open round at Pinehurst No. 2 on Thursday. Garcia shot 1-under 69, recording his lone bogey at the par-5 fifth hole, where he got up and down from a greenside bunker by blasting out to 21 inches and tapping in the shortie.

He is four shots off leader Patrick Cantlay’s early pace.

“Obviously to shoot under par in a U.S. 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.”

The last player to go bogey-free at Pinehurst No. 2 was Martin Kaymer, who shot 65 in the second round on his way to his eight-shot win in 2014. The other four: David Duval (1999, Round 1, 67, finished T-7), Arron Oberholser (2005, Round 2, 67, T-9), Brendon Todd (2014, Round 2, 67, T-17) and Jason Day (2014, Round 2, 68, T-4).

Garcia was T-3 in 2005 and T-35 in 2014.

“I’ve always liked it here,” Garcia said. “… The course was playing different [in 2005 and 2014] than it is now. But yeah, I feel like I’ve always liked U.S. Opens because I don’t feel like you have to birdie every hole. 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, like Pinehurst No. 2, you can celebrate a lot of pars.”