Golf / Sports

Sergio Garcia cards 67, holds 3-shot lead over Rory McIlroy heading into final round

AKRON, Ohio -- Two shots separated Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia in the British Open two weeks ago at Royal Liverpool Golf Course.

McIlroy left Hoylake with his third major title and Garcia finished in a tie for second with Rickie Fowler.

Garcia wants to get back on top, and will have that opportunity next to McIlroy as the two renew their friendly rivalry Sunday in the final round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational on the South Course at Firestone Country Club.

Garcia will have a 3-shot advantage when the two tee off at 2:05 p.m.

"He's a wonderful player," Garcia said of McIlroy. "It's nice to play with someone that you like, someone that you enjoy being with. At the end of the day, it's all about, hopefully, playing well 1/8Sunday3/8 and see who can some out on top.

"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."

Garcia, a Spaniard, is on top after three rounds at 14-under-par 196. He shot a 67 Saturday, finishing in the rain, after matching the course record with a 61 Friday and opening with a 68 Thursday.

1/8It's3/8 nice to have played well for the first three rounds," Garcia said. "I'm excited about it. It's a course I like, but it's not an easy course. You have to feel comfortable. Some years you come here a little bit off, and you don't feel comfortable. Some of the years, you come in with a little bit of confidence, and you can -- you can get it going because the greens are really, really good.

"If you hit good shots, the greens are not too big. So you always feel like you have possible birdie chances. So, I've been able to do that quite well this year."

Garcia and several of the top players in the field of 74 sat through a three-hour, 14-minute rain delay Saturday in Akron, Ohio, and then completed their last few holes.

Garcia made birdies on Nos. 2, 4, 6 and 11 and bogeyed No. 14 on Saturday.

"To be able to not make many mistakes on this golf course is always very positive," Garcia said. "It's something I'm very proud of, but there's still one more day to go."

McIlroy of Northern Ireland put together a 66 Saturday. Coupled with a 64 Friday and a 69 Thursday, he is at 11-under 199.

"My goal today was to try and get in the final group," said McIlroy, who made birdies on Nos. 2, 6, 9, 17 and 18. He made a bogey on 12.

"Sergio didn't quite have that luxury of seeing what I was doing. It will be nice to play alongside him 1/8Sunday3/8 and at least keep an eye on what's going on. So, try to apply pressure when I can, but just really looking forward to getting in there and having another chance to win a tournament so soon after what happened at Hoylake a few weeks ago."

Australian Marc Leishman is third following a 68 that put him at 9-under 201.

"It was a good day," Leishman said. "Would have been nice to have a few lower. Played well in parts and hit a few pretty ornery shots. So to shoot a couple under was decent. ... I'm hitting a lot of good shots and feel like I am rolling the ball pretty well on the green. It's a good recipe to make birdies. I've just got to cut out a few of the mistakes."

American Keegan Bradley is tied for fourth with England's Justin Rose and Australia's Adam Scott at 8-under 202. Rose shot the best of the three Saturday with a 65. Bradley posted a 67 and Rose shot 70.

American Brandt Snedeker is seventh at 6 under and American J.B. Holmes and Sweden's Henrik Stenson are tied for eighth at 5 under.

Eight golfers are tied for 10th at 4 under, including six Americans: Fowler, Harris English, Ryan Moore, Gary Woodland, Jim Furyk and Patrick Reed. Japan's Hideki Matsuyama and Denmark's Thomas Bjorn are the other two tied for 10th. Matsuyama put together the best round of the bunch Saturday with a 65.

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