WASHINGTON: No-look Sergio Garcia and Australian Cameron Davis, who opened with five birdies, shared the lead with American JT Poston after Saturday’s third round of the US PGA Sanderson Farms Championship.
Davis fired a US PGA career-low 63, nine-under par, while Garcia had a bogey-free 66 and Poston shot 69 to stand level on 14-under 202 after 54 holes at the Country Club of Jackson in Mississippi.
Garcia, seeking his first US PGA win since capturing the 2017 Masters, made six birdies and praised his new putting method of shutting his eyes while striking putts.
“It’s quite simple,” the 40-year-old Spaniard said. “What I’m looking for is to keep my stroke as smooth as possible. The less things I have in my head, or my eyes, the better.
“When I do it, I have a smooth stroke and I make a lot of good putts. When I don’t, it’s not quite as good.”
Garcia, who has won three times on the European Tour since capturing the green jacket but is ranked a modest 51st in the world, sank an eight-foot birdie putt at the second hole.
He closed the front nine with back-to-back birdies from 12 and 15 feet and added tap-in birdies at the par-5 11th and par-4 12th.
Garcia also birdied the 15th, blasting from a bunker to three feet and sinking the putt.
“It’s mainly trying to be consistent and go with it. Just trust it,” Garcia said.
“We want to make every single putt we look at, or don’t look at in this case, but we don’t do that... If I can leave the course feeling I gave it my best chance that’s all I can do.”
Davis was one off the course record as the 25-year-old from Sydney chases his first US PGA title.
DAVIS IN THE GROOVE
“I was in the groove,” Davis said. “I just felt like I had a very good idea of where the ball was going today.”
For much of the round, it was going in the hole for the world number 208.
His first three birdie putts were all from inside six feet and his
next two were from between eight and nine feet.
“Rolling the ball well,” Davis said. “I was able to hit it close and do that hole after hole after hole.”
His bogey-free round also featured a 17-foot birdie putt at the eighth, a nine-footer for par at the par-3 13th and an eagle from just inside 10 feet at the par-5 14th.
At 15, Davis drove into a greenside bunker, blasted out inches from the cup and tapped in for birdie before closing with three pars.
“It was one of those days where you forget where you are at,” Davis said. “I had a very good day hitting the ball.”
Poston chases his second career US PGA victory after last year’s Wyndham Championship, where he became the first tour player since 1974 to win a title without a bogey.
He sank a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-5 third, added another from nine feet at the eighth and followed a bogey at 10 with a tap-in birdie at the par-5 11th.
Poston made back-to-back birdie putts from 13 feet at the par-5 14th and five feet at the 15th to seize the lead alone at 15-under.
But Poston made a bogey at 16 after finding a greenside bunker to fall back into the lead pack, then sank a 13-foot par putt at 18 to stay there.
Norway’s Kristoffer Ventura and American Brandt Snedeker shared fourth on 203, one stroke adrift. — AFP
PGA Tour Sanderson Farms Championship scores
(USA unless noted, par-72):
202 — Cameron Davis (AUS) 66-73-63, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 68-68-66, JT Poston 66-67-69
203 — Brandt Snedeker 70-66-67, Kristoffer Ventura (NOR) 67-68-68
204 — Aaron Wise 68-69-67, Denny McCarthy 68-67-69, Keegan Bradley 66-65-73
205 — Tyler McCumber 70-69-66, Charley Hoffman 64-69-72
206 — Rory Sabbatini (SVK) 72-68-66, Corey Conners (CAN) 67-70-69, MJ Daffue 65-69-72
207 — Wesley Bryan 72-69-66, Maverick McNealy 69-71-67, CT Pan (TPE) 70-69-68, Scott Stallings 67-72-68, Matthew NeSmith 68-71-68, Chase Seiffert 70-68-69, Sebastian Munoz (COL) 64-73-70, Peter Malnati 70-67-70
208 — Doug Ghim 71-70-67, Henrik Norlander (SWE) 69-70-69, Kevin Chappell 64-72-72