Masters champion Sergio Garcia edged closer to his third title of the season when he fired a 67 to share the lead with England’s Richard Bland going into the final round of the BMW International Open.
The Spanish star, playing in Europe for the first time since capturing the Masters in Augusta in April, had led after birdies on the 12th and 13th holes before 44-year-old Bland responded.
Englishman Bland, who had played out of the water on the 11th to hole a 20-footer, jumped out into a two-shot lead.
He holed out from the fairway on the 13th, but Garcia hit a fine approach into the 15th and a better tee shot into the 17th to move alongside him.
“I think it was a good, solid day,” Garcia told www.europeantour.com, as his 67 was matched by Bland with both men standing at 13 under par for the three rounds.
“Obviously a couple of little putts there at the end that looked like they were going to go in and didn’t but, overall, I felt like I played nicely.
Garcia, who carded seven birdies, added: “It’s nice but it doesn’t mean that it’s finished. Still we have a long day tomorrow. We’ve got to go out there, play well again and see if we can pull it off.”
Bland is playing in his 410th European Tour event but has yet to clinch a title.
“I hit some really good shots out there and I hit a couple of scrappy ones coming in but my short game saved me,” said Bland.
“Got my feet wet and holed a second shot into 13. So yeah, kind of ran pretty much into everything.”
Swede Joakim Lagergren, who had shared the overnight lead, is 12 under, two shots clear of Belgian Thomas Detry and Argentinian Andres Romero.
Leading third round:
(GBR/IRL unless stated, par 72):
203 — Richard Bland 67 69 67, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 66 70 67
204 — Joakim Lagergren (SWE) 69 66 69
206 — Andres Romero (ARG) 67 71 68, Thomas Detry (BEL) 65 71 70
207 — Hennie Otto (RSA) 68 69 70, David Lipsky (USA) 71 69 67, Scott Henry 69 72 66, Renato Paratore (ITA) 70 70 67
208 — Brett Rumford (AUS) 68 73 67, Niclas Fasth (SWE) 68 69 71, Tommy Fleetwood 67 71 70, Joost Luiten (NED) 66 73 69, Rikard Karlberg (SWE) 67 69 72, Henrik Stenson (SWE) 67 69 72
209 — Joel Stalter (FRA) 67 68 74, Jens Fahrbring (SWE) 72 67 70, Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL) 71 71 67, Brandon Stone (RSA) 72 71 66, Jorge Campillo (ESP) 74 69 66, Jaco Van Zyl (RSA) 70 72 67, George Coetzee (RSA) 69 70 70, Anthony Wall 71 72 66, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 67 74 68, Jamie Donaldson 70 71 68, Dylan Frittelli (RSA) 72 71 66, Trevor Fisher Jnr (RSA) 69 69 71
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