Sergio Garcia, after needing police escort, sits just 4 back after Thursday at British Open

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Sergio Garcia may want to try arriving to the course late more often.

Garcia got stuck in a traffic jam on his way to Royal St. George’s on Thursday and needed a police escort to get to the course in time for his opening round at the British Open.

When he walked off the course for the day, Garcia posted a 2-under 68 — which puts him just shots back.

“Obviously very happy with the finish,” Garcia said. “Even happier after how the morning started, where because of terrible traffic coming in, even though I left the house with plenty of time, I needed a little bit of help from a couple very nice English policemen on the bikes to get me here with only about 35, 40 minutes to tee off … We couldn't move, and thankfully they helped us a little bit and got us here in time.

"I was able to do a very quick practice, very quick warmup, but it worked out OK because I played nicely.”

Garcia had played just eight other rounds at Royal St. George’s before Thursday, and only finished under par in one of them. He ended his day with a pair of birdies, too, to get back to par on the back nine and ensure that he got into the red.

The 11-time PGA Tour winner is just four strokes behind Louis Oosthuizen, who posted a bogey-free 64 to take the solo lead headed into Friday. Oosthuizen — along with Jordan Spieth — is now the favorite to win the major championship at +450 on BetMGM. Garcia was listed at +6600 as of Friday night.

While he knows he still has a long way to go to win the second major of his career, Garcia’s late start has him on the right track.

“It doesn’t mean that it’s going to make or not your week, but obviously if you start nicely it gives you a little bit more confidence,” Garcia said. “It gives you a little more — you relax a little bit more. I’m very excited about that.”

Sergio Garcia of Spain tees off at The 149th Open
Sergio Garcia got stuck in traffic on his way to Royal St. George's on Thursday, and needed a police escort to make it to his tee time. (Warren Little/R&A/Getty Images)

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