AKRON, Ohio — Sergio Garcia still had a three-shot lead when the third round finally ended Saturday at the Bridgestone Invitational.
British Open champion Rory McIlroy made it feel a little smaller.
Garcia, who stretched his lead to as many as six shots before thunderstorms halted play for just over three hours, closed with three good pars for a 3-under 67. Playing in the group ahead of him, McIlroy finished with two big birdies for a 66 to get into the final group.
That sets up a replay of the British Open two weeks ago, 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.
This time, it’s McIlroy who has to do the chasing.
Garcia was at 14-under 196 as he goes after his first World Golf Championship, and his first win on the PGA Tour in two years.
“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.”
McIlroy hit a gorgeous drive down the uphill 17th that left him a sand wedge into 12 feet, which he converted for a birdie. He holed a 35-foot birdie putt on the last hole, giving it a little body English as it fell, knowing what it meant.
“My goal today was to try and get in the final group,” McIlroy said. “Sergio didn’t quite have that luxury of seeing what I was doing on the last. It will be nice to play alongside him tomorrow and at least keep an eye on what’s going on. Try to apply a bit of 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.”
Rickie Fowler also was in the hunt at Hoylake, though he took himself out of the picture on the final hole. He went from the left trees to a plugged lie in the bunker, having to brace his right good against the side of a hill. He left it in the bunker and wound up with a double bogey for a 72, putting him 10 shots behind.
This isn’t a two-man race to the $1.4 million prize.
Marc Leishman had a 68 and was five shots behind, while Adam Scott returned from the rain delay carrying only his long putter, the only weapon he needed to convert one last birdie for a 65 that at least left him with a slim chance. He was six shots behind, along with Keegan Bradley (68) and Justin Rose (70).
Kenny Perry leads at 3M Championship
BLAINE, Minn. — Kenny Perry eagled the last hole after waiting out a thunderstorm to take a one-shot lead Saturday after the second round of the Champions Tour’s 3M Championship.
Perry shot a 9-under 63 to reach 16-under 128 at TPC Twin Cities.
The six-time senior winner birdied the par-3 17th and was on the green on the par-5 18th when play was stopped for the thunderstorm. After a two-hour delay, he made the 8-foot eagle putt.
First-round leader Marco Dawson was second after a 66.
Bernhard Langer, Gary Hallberg, Jeff Maggert and Gene Sauers were 13 under. Langer, coming off a record-breaking victory in the Senior British Open, and Maggert shot 67, and Hallberg and Sauers shot 65.
Geoff Ogilvy leads Barracuda Championship
RENO, Nev. —Geoff Ogilvy got up-and-down for birdie from a greenside bunker on the par-5 closing hole to take a three-stroke lead Saturday in the Barracuda Championship.
In the modified Stableford event, players receive eight points for double eagle, five for eagle, two for birdie, zero for par, minus-one for bogey and minus-three for double bogey or worse.
Ogilvy, the Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, had seven birdies and two bogeys in a 12-point round at Montreux to push his total to 35. He’s making his first appearance in the event since 2002 after failing to qualify for the World Golf Championship-Bridgestone Invitational.
Nick Watney, the leader after each of the first two rounds, was tied for second with Jason Allred. Watney scored six points, and Allred had 14.
Brandon Steele was fourth with 30 points after a 10-point round
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