Garcia goes from three back to two ahead in third round at Andalucia

By PA Sport
Published on

Sergio Garcia's revival continued Saturday as he took over the lead after the third round of the Andalucia Masters on the European Tour.

Six days after his first victory in almost three years with an amazing 11-stroke margin on his home course just up the Spanish coast in Castellon, the 31-year-old Spanish star moved from three shots behind to two ahead with a 4-under par 67 at Valderrama, widely considered the toughest tournament course on the continent.

Needing to win again to qualify for this coming week's WGC-HSBC Championship in China, Garcia is on the 6-under-par mark of 207 with a round to go.

Compatriot Miguel Angel Jimenez (68) and Swede Christian Nilsson, who had a joint best-of-the-week 65, are tied for second at 4 under.

Overnight leader Richie Ramsay is three back after closing with two bogeys for a 73 -- and nobody else is below par following a day that saw defending champion Graeme McDowell take an 81.

Garcia's round was not without its drama on a course where he has been a runner-up, but never won.

At the long 17th, his second shot from a fairway bunker ran on to the rocks just the lake and he decided to play it. Taking off his shoes and socks and rolling up his trouser legs, Garcia stepped into the water and went for the shot.

It finished in the rough right of the green and led to a bogey 6 -- his second of the week there -- but his approach to the 454-yard last finished less than two feet from the flag and set up his sixth birdie.

"It obviously was risky," he said of his third to the 17th, "but I liked my chances of getting up and down better from there than the drop zone.

"After I three-putted the fifth I came straight back with a birdie, so to have that bouncebackability is always nice," he added. "I don't want to get ahead of myself. Hopefully I can come out and have the same feelings and mentality and my best will be good enough."

Jimenez's round did not contain a single birdie, but he had two eagles. On the long fourth he pitched in from 72 yards, and at the 11th he hit a majestic 246-yard second to two feet.

That brought the 47-year-old level, but Garcia birdied the 13th and Jimenez failed to get up and down from the sand two holes later.

Nilsson, only 173rd in the world, had four birdies in a row on the outward half and finished with two more.

What Ramsay would have given for those. The Aberdeen, Scotland, native player hit his third to the 17th into the back bunker and then tangled with the trees down the last.

McDowell's 81 was matched by England's David Lynn, who followed a triple-bogey 7 at the 16th with a quadruple-bogey 9 on the 17th.

Romain Wattel also had a 9 there and crashed from fifth to 15th, while fellow Frenchman Gregory Havret, second at halfway, dropped to ninth with a 76.