Date: October 26, 2008

Garcia shines at home

Sergio Garcia surged in front of the field to take a four-shot lead into the final day of the Castellon Masters, the tournament he is hosting on the course he played as a boy. The Spaniard was in sparkling form again at the Club de Campo Mediterraneo, where his father Victor is still the professional, firing a five-under-par 66 in the third round following scores of 66 and 65 to put him on 16 under overall – a substantial advantage over Englishmen David Lynn and Simon Dyson and Swede Peter Hedblom, who all shot 68 on Saturday to join Denmark&aposs Soren Kjeldsen (70) at 12 under. Richard Finch briefly threatened to overthrow Garcia, but the Yorkshireman fell apart on the back nine and had to settle for a level-par 71. Peter O&aposMalley, the sole Aussie in the field, is struggling down the bottom of the leaderboard in at four-over par. Garcia birdied the second with a long putt and that seemed to set the tone for the rest of the front nine as he picked up shots on four consecutive holes to reach the halfway point five under for the day. One of those birdies came when he holed a tricky bunker shot at the eighth, typifying his superb touch around the greens, and his putting was equally impressive. He wobbled slightly after the turn, hitting a wedge out the back of the 10th green and then blasting his tee shot way left on 11 as he attempted to drive the length of the par-four hole. He should have immediately made amends but he missed a five-foot putt for birdie at the par-three 12th, although Finch, at the time level with the Spaniard on 14 under, was even more wasteful, missing his second putt from inside a metre. Garcia birdied 13 and 14, leaving Finch trailing in his wake, and he improved to 17 under with another birdie at the par-three 16th, having only just cleared the lake from the tee. He bogeyed 17 but parred the last – narrowly missing a lengthy birdie putt – to complete another impressive score. Alvaro Quiros, who won the Portugal Masters last week, started the day just two shots off the leaders but endured a torrid round, signing for a 76 to fall way back on four under. Englishman Sam Little strengthened his chances of automatically retaining his European Tour card for 2009 with a flawless five-under par 66 to leave him six under, while Scotsman Stephen Gallacher had the round of the day – a six-under-par 65 propelling him up the leaderboard to 11 under. Third Round of the Castello Masters (Par 71) -16: Sergio Garcia 66 65 66 -12: Simon Dyson 66 67 68, Peter Hedblom 68 65 68, Soren Kjeldsen 64 67 70, David Lynn 67 66 68 -11: Richard Finch 65 66 71, Stephen Gallacher 67 70 65 -10: Mikael Lundberg 67 68 68, Jarmo Sandelin 69 67 67 -9: Ignacio Garrido 65 70 69, Rory McIlroy 68 67 69, Alexander Noren 68 68 68 -8: Phillip Archer 67 68 70, Jesus Maria Arruti 70 68 67, Thomas Bjorn 69 68 68, Gregory Bourdy 68 70 67, Paul Casey 69 67 69, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano 69 68 68, Peter Hanson 65 73 67, Maarten Lafeber 70 66 69, Maria Olazabal 66 72 67 Also: +4: Peter O&aposMalley (Australia) 72 70 75