Garcia sunny in Dubai, Matsuyama hot in Arizona

DUBAI • Sergio Garcia will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic but he will have British Open champion Henrik Stenson chasing him at the Emirates Golf Club.

Yesterday, on a day of catch-up in Dubai following Friday's wind delays, the Spaniard birdied his 33rd hole of the day in darkness to finish with four-under 68. He moves to 200 as he goes in search of a first European Tour title since the 2014 Qatar Masters, reported the European Tour website.

Stenson also played 33 holes in completing rounds of 68 and 67 to get to 203, two shots clear of Prom Meesawat (68) and Ian Poulter (67).

Garcia and Stenson have been two of the biggest stars of the European Tour over the last 20 years and will both be looking for their 12th title this afternoon.

"I felt like I hit a lot of quality shots, lots of good bunker shots and chips. Unfortunately a couple of bad putts here and there, but other than that I felt very comfortable all week," Garcia told Sky Sports.

"I just need to keep doing more of the same (on Sunday), believing in myself and what I'm doing and if I manage to do that hopefully I will be here with the trophy."

In the United States, reigning champion Hideki Matsuyama recorded his first bogey of the week on his final hole on Friday. But he remains the man to beat at the Phoenix Open in Arizona, heading into the weekend just one stroke off the lead.

The 24-year-old Japanese golfer, the game's hottest player over the past four months with four wins and two runner-up results in his last eight starts, fired a three-under 68 at the TPC Scottsdale.

American Brendan Steele (67) and South Korean An Byeong Hun, who drained a 35-foot birdie putt at the par-four 18th hole to card a 66, shared the halfway lead on 132.

Matsuyama, who beat American Rickie Fowler in a play-off to win last year's tournament, recorded four birdies in his first 17 holes before bunkering his approach into 18, splashing out to six feet and narrowly missing the par putt.

His first bogey of the event dropped him into a tie for third with Scot Martin Laird (66), American Matt Kuchar (69) and South Korean Kang Sung Hoon (65).

World No. 6 Jordan Spieth got to six under for the round after 13 holes but ran up a double bogey at the 18th hole, after hitting his tee shot into water, to card a 68.

"Eighteen was rough," said Spieth, who ended the day at 138, level with fellow American Phil Mickelson (70). "I smashed it and it still didn't carry, so that was a kind of a bugaboo on our (he and caddie Michael Greller) part."


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 05, 2017, with the headline 'Garcia sunny in Dubai, Matsuyama hot in Arizona'. Print Edition | Subscribe