That was a far different attitude than last year on the weekend, when he went from one shot out of the lead going into the third round to back in the pack with a 75. He told Spanish reporters that day he had been trying his entire career to win a major and "I don't feel capable of winning. ... After 13 years, my chances are over. I'm not good enough for the majors. That's it."
Not so fast.
Garcia struggled off the tee on the back nine, and he three-putted for par at the 13th. He also made tough par saves on the 11th and 17th for his first bogey-free round at the Masters since 2002.
"The last eight holes mean a lot that I kept my composure, even though I didn't hit it as well as I did the first 10 holes," he said.
Composure is everything to Garcia, a 33-year-old who still acts like a kid. Only three weeks ago, he hit a tee shot at Bay Hill that settled on a large branch in a tree. Garcia climbed the tree, played a remarkable backhanded shot to the fairway and then jumped some 10 feet to the ground. He withdrew a few holes later when the rain arrived.
He smiles. He sulks. And he always says what he's thinking, which sometimes get him trouble. Garcia doesn't regret his comments at Augusta last year, only that he didn't choose his words carefully. He chalked it up to frustration, but says he is trying just as hard as he did when he was 19 and challenged Woods at Medinah in the 1999 PGA.
"Every time I tee it off, I try to play as well as I can, hope that my best that week is really, really good," Garcia said. "And if I manage to do that, I will have a chance at winning. If my best is not that good, then, I'll struggle a little bit. Today, my best was pretty good. And I'm looking forward to doing the same thing the next three days."
Guan only wants to enjoy himself, and as he sat in Butler Cabin for an interview, the Chinese teen looked composed. Guan said his goal for the week was to enjoy himself, and even a score two shots better than the defending champion didn't change that.
"I think I'm pretty focused on golf," Guan said. "It's made me do pretty good so far."
Woods has higher goals. He has gone five years without winning a major, and his last Masters title was in 2005. With three PGA Tour wins and the No. 1 ranking, he is the overwhelming favorite this week.
He picked up birdies on a pair of the par 5s, and made a short birdie putt on the sixth hole. The greens befuddled him, though, and it hurt him toward the end of the round. Woods missed a 6-foot par putt on the 14th, a 5-foot birdie putt on the 15th and a 12-foot birdie attempt on the 17th.
"The biggest challenge today was just the speed of the greens," Woods said. "They just weren't quite there."
Leishman was the first player to post at 66, a moderate surprise considering he missed the cut in his only Masters appearance in 2010, and he had failed to break 70 in his last nine rounds on the PGA Tour dating to the first week in March.
The turning point was four straight birdies in the middle of the back nine, finishing with a long putt on the 16th.
"I don't know how far that was, but it was in a different zip code," Leishman said. "That happens when you have a good day, and you've just got to make the most of it."
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