Garcia leads McIlroy by three strokes at WGC-Bridgestone

Sat Aug 2, 2014 8:10pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Sergio Garcia maintained a three-stroke lead after the third round at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Saturday, while Rory McIlroy loomed large in second place as the two Europeans set the stage for another showdown.

Two weeks after McIlroy staved off a final round challenge from Garcia to win the British Open, the Northern Irishman will be the hunter instead of the hunted.

Garcia, coming off a course record-equaling 61, was solid rather than spectacular as he fashioned a three-under-par 67 at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.

He posted a 14-under 196 total with one round left, while McIlroy birdied the final two holes, rolling in a 35-footer at the last to card a 66 for 11-under.

Not that it was only a two-horse race after a round that was interrupted for more than three hours by storms.

Marc Leishman was four shots behind, while another Australian, world number one Adam Scott, was five back with Englishman Justin Rose and American Keegan Bradley.

“I misread a couple of putts here and there and hit a couple of not so good putts,” Garcia told CBS television, otherwise expressing overall satisfaction with his game and welcoming the chance to potentially duel again with McIlroy.

“I’ve felt very comfortable throughout the whole week so hopefully I’ll be able to do the same thing (on Sunday), just like he (McIlroy) did to me at Hoylake and hopefully keep him just behind me.”

McIlroy for his part was relishing the chance to pursue the man with whom he will form the backbone of the European team for next month’s Ryder Cup.   Continued...

Aug 2, 2014; Akron, OH, USA; Sergio Garcia approach shot on the second hole during the third round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament at Firestone Country Club - South Course. Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports