Sergio Garcia’s chances suffer early blow in Dell Technologies Championship

Sergio Garcia’s chances of getting back into contention for the Dell Technologies Championship suffered a massive self-inflicted blow in the early stages of the third round.

Garcia slammed his putter into a sprinkler head after badly misjudging an eagle attempt on the short par-four fourth at TPC Boston, altering the loft and lie of the club.

Under Rule 4-3b, that meant Garcia was not allowed to use it again for the rest of the round, although he did at least hole his birdie putt from 13 feet with a fairway wood.

However, after switching to using his driver on the greens, the 37-year-old then bogeyed the fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth to drop back to one over par in the second of four FedEx Cup play-off events, 10 shots behind compatriot Jon Rahm and American Kyle Stanley.

It is not the first time this season Garcia has caused himself problems with a loss of temper, the world number seven injuring his shoulder after lashing out at a gorse bush on the fourth hole at Royal Birkdale during this year’s Open Championship.

Rahm, who overtook Garcia in the world rankings after finishing third in the Northern Trust Open last week, took a two-shot lead into the third round and started in the ideal fashion with a birdie from eight feet on the first.

But the world number five then bogeyed the second after his approach bounced off a rock short of the green and into a water hazard, allowing Stanley to draw level on nine under par with birdies on the first and third.

England’s Paul Casey and American Kevin Streelman were a shot off the pace, with Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Phil Mickelson part of a six-strong group on seven under on a highly-congested leaderboard.