August 1, 2014

Garcia remains 3 clear at Bridgestone Invitational

Sergio Garcia birdied the final seven holes on Friday en route to grabbing a 3-shot lead after two rounds of the WGC- Bridgestone Invitational.

Akron, OH ( - Sergio Garcia carded a 3-under 67 on Saturday as he maintained his 3-stroke lead at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Garcia, an 8-time winner on the PGA Tour, finished 54 holes at 14-under-par 196. He is seeking his first win on tour since the 2012 Wyndham Championship.

Open championship winner Rory McIlroy shot a 4-under 66 during his second round at Firestone Country Club to move into second place at 11-under 199, while Marc Leishman (68) is alone in third at minus-9.

Now Garcia will try to hold off McIlroy, just like McIlroy did to Garcia at the Open Championship in Hoylake.

"Obviously he's been playing great, so it's going to be tough tomorrow, but I just have to keep doing what I've been doing," Garcia said. "I feel very, very comfortable throughout the whole week, so hopefully I'll be able to do the same thing just like (McIlroy) did to me in Hoylake. Hopefully keep him just behind me."

Major winners Adam Scott (65), Justin Rose (70) and Keegan Bradley (67) are tied for fourth place at 8-under 202.

Defending champion Tiger Woods carded a 2-over 72 on Saturday and fell into a share for 36th place.

As Garcia opened his round with a 2-putt par to snap a run of 11 consecutive one-putts for the tournament, McIroy tapped in a short birdie putt at the second to move to 8-under and join Rose in second place.

Garcia followed in the final group with a 6-foot birdie putt at the second to move to 12-under and stretch his lead to four strokes.

Rose rolled in a 28-foot birdie putt at the third to pull back within three of the lead, but Garcia answered with a birdie at the fourth to regain his 4-shot advantage.

McIlroy would birdie the sixth to join Rose in second place before Garcia rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt at the same hole to move five clear of the field at minus-14.

McIlroy birdied the ninth to pull back within four of Garcia, while Rose countered a bogey at the eighth with back-to-back birdies at the ninth and 10th to also reach 10-under.

The jostling for second place continued when McIlroy bogeyed the 12th to fall to 9-under.

Garcia, meanwhile, had parred four straight holes from the seventh before sticking his approach at the par-4 11th to two feet and kicking that in for birdie to move five strokes ahead of Rose at 15-under.

The Spaniard's advantage increased to six strokes when Rose 3-putted for bogey at the 13th, dropping him into a tie with McIlroy, Bradley and Leishman at 9- under.

Rose made another bogey at the 14th to fall to minus-8, and he was joined there by Bradley, when he dropped a shot at the 15th.

Garcia's bogey at the 14th cut his lead to five shots over McIlroy and Leishman at minus-14, and he parred the 15th before play was delayed for over three hours due to inclement weather.

When play resumed, McIlroy and Leishman each birdied the 17th to pull within four of the lead.

McIlroy then made it two straight gains with a 34-foot birdie putt at the last to finish at 11-under.

Garcia parred his final three holes after the delay to end at 14-under and take a 3-shot lead into the final round.

"I just unfortunately misread a couple putts here and there, and then I hit a couple not so good putts. The restart was a little tougher," Garcia said. "I didn't play my best there, but I managed to keep it together. I made three good pars to finish with and tomorrow will be another day."

NOTES: Garcia does have a win this season, collecting the title at the European Tour's Qatar Masters ... Garcia's best finish in 13 previous starts at this event is a tie for 13th in 2005 ... Jason Day withdrew after completing two holes of his third round because of dizziness ... Ben Crane withdrew before the start of the third round due to a back injury.

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