Sergio Garcia edges ahead of Daniel Brooks at Valderrama
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 24/10/17 10:11am
Sergio Garcia will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Andalucia Valderrama Masters as Daniel Brooks charged into contention on day three.
Brooks took full advantage of a friendlier course set-up at the iconic former Ryder Cup venue and carded nine birdies in an outstanding 64 which gave him the clubhouse lead until Garcia capped 68 with a sublime up-and-down at the last.
The tournament host kept himself in contention for his first win since the Masters with another battling performance despite his wrist injury, but overnight leader Joost Luiten stumbled to a 71 to slide two shots off the pace.
Only 15 players were under-par at the halfway stage, but Brooks made light of the scoring as he began his charge up the leaderboard with three birdies in four holes from the second, and he reeled off four in a row around the turn to claim the lead on seven under.
The Englishman, who arrived ranked 123rd on the Race to Dubai and needing a big week to save his card, did falter down the stretch as he offset further birdies at 15 and 17 with bogeys at the 16th and final holes - but his seven-under card was comfortably the round of the week.
Garcia, who was awarded honorary life membership of the European Tour on Friday evening, gave his adoring home fans plenty to cheer early on when he birdied the second and third, but the 37-year-old gave both shots back at five and six before holing a nice putt for a three at the eighth to turn in 34.
The Masters champion followed a good four at the long 11th with another birdie at 15 and, after his third bogey of the day at 16, he found the back of the 17th green in two and safely two-putted to jump back into the outright lead.
He pulled his approach long and left at the last, but a delightful touch from the rough helped him save his par and left him in pole position to be presenting himself with the trophy on Sunday evening.
"It was pretty solid," he said. "I'm going to go out there tomorrow and try to post another under par round and see what happens. Good rounds are possible there but they have to be spot on. It's still a long way tomorrow to come so we can't get too much ahead of ourselves."
Luiten, who recorded only the third albatross in Valderrama history in the second round, remained within striking distance after an erratic day in which he mixed three birdies with as many bogeys to stay at six-under, one ahead of Jamie Donaldson and Scott Jamieson.
Former Ryder Cup star Donaldson birdied two of the last three holes to return a creditable 68, while Jamieson holed out from a greenside bunker for a birdie at 15 but paid the price for a blocked drive into the trees at the last and carded his third bogey of the day in a 71.
Shane Lowry got himself to four under only to sign off with a disappointing double-bogey six at the last which took the shine off a 69, while Robert Rock is also six off the lead after a torrid front nine.
Rock, playing in the final pairing with Luiten, tumbled down the leaderboard when he doubled-bogeyed the fifth and then bogeyed the next three holes, although the English journeyman did hit back with three birdies to limit the damage to a 74.