Golf: Flawless Garcia closes on Valderrama treble

Garcia tees off during the third round.
Garcia tees off during the third round.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SOTOGRANDE, Spain (AFP) - Home favourite Sergio Garcia fired a magnificent seven-under-par 64 to seize a four-shot lead heading into the third and final round of the weather-hit Valderrama Masters on Saturday (Oct 20).

The tournament host had not hit a shot since Thursday after thunderstorms forced the event to be cut to 54 holes, but he carded the lowest score of the week to close on a third straight Valderrama title.

The 38-year-old former Masters champion appeared revitalised during Europe's Ryder Cup thrashing of the United States after a poor season, and has continued that form in Andalusia.

"The only thing I could do was keep working hard, keep trying to improve and that's what we've been doing and hopefully we'll be able to play well again tomorrow (Sunday) and see if we can get another win here at Valderrama," Garcia told europeantour.com.

Garcia hit the front early on the back nine before reeling off three successive birdies to finish the day, taking total control by reaching 10-under overall, four strokes clear of England's Ashley Chesters in second.

The world number 31 is bidding for a 15th European Tour title and a seventh in his home country, having also won at Valderrama the last two times the event was played in 2011 and 2017.

"I saw a four or five-under (round) there if you played well, but it was one of those days where I played really well," he added.

Garcia's fellow Spaniards Alvaro Quiros and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano sit in a tie for third with Scotland's Marc Warren on four-under.