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Open shoulder scare had Garcia fearing for his weekend chances

Sergio Garcia feared he had blown his chances of winning The Open Championship with a self-inflicted shoulder injury after he lashed out at a gorse bush at Royal Birkdale.

Garcia's 69 was one of the best scores of a windswept second day, but the Masters champion thought he may not be able to complete the round following an incident on the fourth hole.

After hitting an errant tee shot on the 199-yard par three, Garcia's backswing on his second shot was restricted by a gorse bush and contributed to a poor chip which came up short of the green, to his frustration.

The 37-year-old Spaniard then took out his anger on the gorse, forcefully hitting it with his club and immediately grabbing his right shoulder in pain.

Garcia went on to bogey the hole and, although he drove the green on the fifth to set up an eagle, he received treatment on the course and planned to undergo more on Friday afternoon.

"It didn't feel good," Garcia said after posting a halfway total of two-over par. "I hit it backwards, it was a very weak position, and it felt like the muscles went on top of each other. So it didn't feel good at all.

"Obviously I'm not happy about it because I almost screwed up my British Open, fortunately for me I didn't. It's not what you want to do.

"Sometimes you are out there and you are trying your hardest. When you can't do it, you get frustrated. We've all had this.

"(The eagle) definitely cheered me up but at the same time I didn't know if I was going to be able to finish the round. I was still very concerned about it."

Meanwhile, Garcia's fellow countryman Jon Rahm insisted his latest brush with controversy was not on his mind after slipping back on day two.

The Irish Open champion's first round was overshadowed by a potential rules infringement that initially saw him hit with a two-stroke penalty on the course.

Those shots were later restored after officials accepted his explanation that the incident on the 17th, when he moved a live plant near his ball, did not affect his lie.

That left him one-under par overnight but his second-round 74 saw him slip backwards.

The World No.7 said: "I was very comfortable with what happened, honestly.

"It is something unintended, I knew I was not improving my lie. It was up to the rules officials.

"It didn't affect me today. I didn't play bad because of yesterday. Like everybody knows, I played bad because of the wind."

The matter was Rahm's second rules controversy in quick succession after he escaped a penalty for incorrectly replacing his ball on the green during his Irish Open victory earlier this month.

The 22-year-old admitted the timing of the latest incident was unfortunate, but amid suggestions he could be gaining an unwanted reputation, he said he had not experienced any negativity.

He said: "It would be foolish to go online and see what people have been saying, but I haven't heard anything negative. The spectators have been wonderful with me. There is nothing to complain about.

"If it happens twice in 10 years nobody will remember," he said.

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