Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Golf

Sergio Garcia leads Rory McIlroy by three at Bridgestone Invitational

AKRON, Ohio — Sergio Garcia was in the trees left of the 18th fairway, looking through a gap in the branches to find a way out. Ahead of him was Rory McIlroy, giving his 35-foot birdie putt a little body English before it fell for birdie.

Garcia never lost command of the Bridgestone Invitational Saturday, even after a storm delay of more than three hours. He started with a three-shot lead, stretched it to six and closed with three good pars for 3-under 67, three shots ahead of McIlroy.

"I've got to keep doing the same thing, make sure that I have good confidence in myself, that I play nicely, and then see what happens," Garcia said. "If Rory comes out, or whoever is behind us comes out, and get crazy like I did on Friday, then it is what it is. But hopefully, I'll be able to play well again and be all the way up there tomorrow."

Garcia, who seized control with a career-best 61 Friday, was at 14-under 196.

McIlroy birdied his last two holes for the second straight day for 66, and he got his wish — a spot in the final group.

Today is set up as a replay of the British Open — only with the roles reversed.

McIlroy had a six-shot lead going into the final round at Hoylake. Garcia, playing in the group ahead, made a spirited run and got within two late in the round until he faltered and Boy Wonder pulled away.

Masters champion Bubba Watson smashed his tee shot on the 659-yard 16th hole so far he had only a 5-iron for his second shot. The drive caught the ridge just right and when it stopped rolling, Watson had the longest drive on the PGA Tour this year at 424 yards. That was 123 yards beyond Tigers Woods' drive, although Woods hit a TV tripod.

Watson's drive was so big that Zach Johnson and two caddies waited behind the 16th green when they realized that the ball in the fairway was Watson's drive, not his second shot. "Better not be short," Johnson said.

Alas, he was. Watson's shot hit the bank and rolled back into the water — not because of the club, but a slight miss with the swing.

He bogeyed it and 17 en route to 73—212.

CHAMPIONS: Kenny Perry eagled the last hole after waiting out a thunderstorm to take a one-shot lead after the second round of the 3M Championship in Blaine, Minn. Perry shot 9-under 63 to reach 16-under 128 at TPC Twin Cities. That tied the 36-hole tournament record set by R.W. Eaks in 2008. The winning score has been at least 15 under in each of the past seven years, including two totals of better than 20 under. Perry birdied the par-3 17th and was on the green on the par-5 18th when play was stopped. After a two-hour delay, the six-time senior winner made the 8-foot eagle putt. First-round leader Marco Dawson was second after 66.

PGA: Geoff Ogilvy got up-and-down for birdie from a greenside bunker on the par-5 closing hole to take a three-point lead in the Barracuda Championship in Reno, Nev., a modified Stableford event. Nick Watney, eader after each of the first two rounds, was tied for second.

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