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Golf: Sergio Garcia holds 3-shot lead over McIlroy

First Published Aug 02 2014 10:56PM      Last Updated Aug 02 2014 11:10 pm

Akron, Ohio • Sergio Garcia was in the trees left of the 18th fairway, looking through a gap in the branches to find a way out. Ahead of him was Rory McIlroy, giving his 35-foot birdie putt a little body English before it fell for birdie.

Garcia never lost command of the Bridgestone Invitational on Saturday, even after a storm delay of just over three hours. He started with a three-shot lead, stretched it to six shots at one point and closed with three good pars for a 3-under 67, three shots ahead of McIlroy.

The Spaniard just lost a small measure of comfort.



AT A GLANCE

Saturday’s results

Bridgestone Invitational

At Firestone Country Club, South Course

Akron, Ohio

Purse » $9 million

Yardage » 7,400; Par » 70 (35-35)

Third-round leaders

Sergio Garcia 68-61-67—196

Rory McIlroy 69-64-66—199

Marc Leishman 64-69-68—201

Adam Scott 69-68-65—202

Keegan Bradley 68-67-67—202

Justin Rose 65-67-70—202

Brandt Snedeker 68-68-68—204

J.B. Holmes 69-69-67—205

Henrik Stenson 71-66-68—205

Hideki Matsuyama 70-71-65—206

Harris English 69-69-68—206

Ryan Moore 65-73-68—206

Gary Woodland 70-68-68—206

Thomas Bjorn 69-68-69—206

Jim Furyk 69-68-69—206

Patrick Reed 67-68-71—206

Rickie Fowler 67-67-72—206

Kevin Stadler 71-70-66—207

Graeme McDowell 71-70-66—207

John Senden 74-66-67—207

Branden Grace 69-71-67—207

Hunter Mahan 71-65-71—207

Charl Schwartzel 65-69-73—207

Zach Johnson 70-70-68—208

Seung-Yul Noh 69-69-70—208

Fabrizio Zanotti 70-71-68—209

Matt Jones 70-70-69—209

Champions Tour-3M Championship

At TPC Twin Cities; Blaine, Minn.

Purse » $1.75 million

Yardage » 7,114; Par » 72 (36-36)

Second-round leaders

Kenny Perry 65-63 — 128 -16

Marco Dawson 63-66 — 129 -15

Gary Hallberg 66-65 — 131 -13

Gene Sauers 66-65 — 131 -13

Bernhard Langer 64-67 — 131 -13

Jeff Maggert 64-67 — 131 -13

John Cook 69-63 — 132 -12

Vijay Singh 64-68 — 132 -12

Kirk Triplett 67-66 — 133 -11

Doug Garwood 66-67 — 133 -11

David Frost 69-65 — 134 -10

Scott Dunlap 69-65 — 134 -10

Hale Irwin 68-66 — 134 -10

Jeff Sluman 67-67 — 134 -10


McIlroy, coming off a wire-to-wire win in the British Open, might be the last player anyone wants to see right behind.

"I’ve got to keep doing the same thing, make sure that I have good confidence in myself, that I play nicely, and then see what happens," Garcia said. "If Rory comes out, or whoever is behind us comes out, and get crazy like I did on Friday, then it is what it is. But hopefully, I’ll be able to play well again and be all the way up there tomorrow."

Garcia, who seized control with a career-best 61 on Friday, was at 14-under 196.

McIlroy birdied his last two holes for the second straight day for a 66, and he got his wish — a spot in the final group.

Sunday is set up as a replay of The Open — only with the roles reversed.

McIlroy had a six-shot lead going into the final round at Hoylake. Garcia, playing in the group ahead, made a spirited run at McIlroy and got within two shots late in the round until he faltered and Boy Wonder pulled away.

"Obviously, Rory is playing great, and we get along nicely as of right now," Garcia said.

I think we’re both excited about it. We’re definitely going to play hard. It will be nice to see if I can do the same thing he did to me a couple of weeks ago. So we’ll see."

The race won’t feature defending champion Tiger Woods. The eight-time winner at Firestone made only one birdie on Saturday — he failed to birdie a par 5 for the second straight day — and shot 72. Woods was 15 shots behind.

Garcia, who won the Qatar Masters this year, has been building toward moments like this.

Two weeks after his runner-up finish to McIlroy at Hoylake, the Spaniard has performed so solidly at Firestone that he went 37 consecutive holes without a bogey.

Champions Tour

 

 

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