With birdies galore at a damp TPC Boston on Sunday, overnight leader Sergio Garcia shot a fine six-under 65 to hold a two-stroke lead after the third round of the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Swede Henrik Stenson’s 66 took him within two shots of Garcia, while Canada’s Graham DeLaet produced a sparkling nine-under 62 to sit one further adrift along with the US’ Steve Stricker (63).
A course which had already offered low scores was even more benign after morning rain left the greens even softer.
So often the talk in golf is of creating tougher and tougher challenges for players, but the fans who ventured out after the storms that delayed play enjoyed seeing the world’s best in a “birdie fest.”
On a day when only 11 players shot over par, Garcia appeared particularly, if unusually, relaxed in a tournament he had not initially planned to play in.
His much-publicized “fried chicken” jibe at Tiger Woods in May and the trouble it caused him seemed a distant memory as he strode confidently around the wet TPC Boston, drawing warm cheers from the New England crowd with seven birdies.
“We can’t control the weather,” said Garcia, whose bogey on the 14th was his sole blemish.
“You’ve just got to go out there and try to play the best you can, and I was very happy to see that my best was six-under today,” he said.
“Hopefully, I’ll be able to believe in [myself] in the way I’ve been believing this whole weekend. If I’m able to do that I should have a chance, a good chance of winning. If not, then I’ll fight as hard as I can to get it,” he added.
DeLaet’s score was the best of the week and continued his purple patch following his impressive tie for second at the Barclays last week.
American Jason Dufner, who fired six birdies in his opening 10 holes, was unable to build on his excellent start, but his 66 left him four strokes behind Garcia on 14-under alongside compatriot Roberto Castro (68).
After enjoying much of the limelight as playing partners for the first two rounds, world No. 1 Tiger Woods and The Open champion Phil Mickelson had disappointing days.
Mickelson had three bogeys on the back nine and his second straight even-par round left him 11 behind Garcia.
Woods found the fairway just seven times in his one-over 72 to be six-under, tied in 47th place.