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Sergio Garcia knows he can't count on rescuing himself from trouble all week. (Franklin/Getty Images)

Scrambling 69 to open thrills Garcia

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Sergio Garcia was pleased with every aspect of his game on Thursday, except for some wayward driving. But he's playing smart, he says, and figuring out where he can take some chances.

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (PA) -
Sergio Garcia described himself as "thrilled" after carding an opening-round 69 Thursday despite hitting only four of 14 fairways in regulation.

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That was a minor miracle since the rough is so penal at Oakland Hills this week that a missed fairway usually equates to a dropped shot. But the 28-year-old Spaniard only had one bogey -
at the 18th (his ninth) and picked up shots at Nos. 13 and 6.

"I scrambled nicely," he said. "I putted good. I chipped good. I hit a lot of good shots into the greens and 1 under par on this course, I'm thrilled with it."

But Garcia admitted he cannot count on rescuing himself from trouble all week if he is to claim his first major title.

"Hopefully, I can go to the range and get a little bit more confidence in my driving abilities, because you have to be in the fairway on this course," he said. "You can't be missing a lot of fairways and expect to do well throughout the whole week. It's too much of a gamble.

"You not only have to play very good, you have to play very smart," he explained. "It is hard because we like to put aggressive swings into everything we do, but sometimes you've got to realize what's right and what's wrong, and to see the gamble is worth it.

"I guess you just learn it as you get older."

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