MIAMI: Australia’s Adam Scott and Spain’s Sergio Garcia charged into a share of the lead after Saturday’s (Sunday in Manila) third round of the US PGA Tour Honda Classic.
Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, fired a four-under par 66 while Garcia, seeking his first US PGA victory since 2012, shot 67 to leave both deadlocked on nine-under 201.
It was a day when the last two groups told the tale for the leaders, Scott and Garcia in the penultimate duo playing at seven-under while Americans Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker, the 36-hole leaders, soared to a combined 13-over.
American Blayne Barber was third on 205, one stroke in front of Fowler and Justin Thomas and two ahead of Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, Fiji’s Vijay Singh and American Scott Brown.
Scott fired seven birdies in his first 13 holes to seize the lead at 12-under par. The Aussie went 39 holes without a bogey before a disaster at the par-3 15th.
Scott sent his tee shot into the water and hit his follow-up approach from the drop zone over the green and into the water on the way to a quadruple bogey 7 that took him from a three-stroke lead to one back of Garcia.
“I hit a good shot there,” Scott said. “I was trying to get a ball dry there and eventually did on my fifth.
“That’s what this course is all about. It’s going to reward great shots and punish those that are a little off. Hopefully I’ve gotten that out of the way.”
At the par-3 17th, part of the tricky “Bear Trap” section of the layout paying tribute to “Golden Bear” designer Jack Nicklaus, Scott made his first career “Bear Trap” birdie in nine rounds to reclaim the lead at eight-under after Garcia made bogey on the hole.
“I have played beautiful,” Scott said. “I just had to get back on it.”
Garcia birdied the par-5 18th to match Scott for the lead entering the final round.
“They were playing tough,” Garcia said of the back nine holes. “But the main thing you do is commit to the shot you want to hit. Depends on how aggressive you want to be. I didn’t feel like I hit that bad a shot on 17 but I got a pretty bad bounce.
“I was happy with the way I played—a little bit conservative but I’ll take it.”