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Sergio Garcia vaults into contention with a 64
June 26, 2011

Former world number two Sergio Garcia gave himself a chance for his first victory since 2008 when he surged into contention in the BMW International Open on Saturday.

An eight-under-par 64, only two strokes off the Eichenried course record and his best score for nearly 18 months, took the Spaniard to second place on 12-under 204, two shots behind front-runner Mark Foster of Britain after three rounds.

Foster carded a 66 to also hold joint overnight leader George Coetzee of South Africa, Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal, Briton Robert Coles and double U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen to second place.

While Garcia can consolidate a comeback on Sunday, Swede Henrik Stenson’s chance of ending his winning drought lessened as he slid five strokes off the pace.

The other overnight leader birdied the last three holes but found water on the long 11th to run up a quadruple-bogey nine in a round of 73.

Garcia has twin targets on Sunday - to claim his ninth European Tour title and earn a place in next month’s British Open at Royal St George’s.

After slumping to 85th in the world rankings this March he hopes he has regained the form he enjoyed when he was chasing Tiger Woods for the world top spot soon after his last European Tour success, the Champions tournament in China.

His recent revival, including finishing tied seventh in last week’s U.S. Open, is largely down to enjoying himself away from the golf course, including playing soccer.

Even a chance of picking up an injury that would make him miss his favourite major will not stop him turning out as an attacking midfielder for his friends’ football team.

“I have a game on Monday,” Garcia told reporters after his exhilarating nine-birdie haul.

“Playing football, and tennis, has its risks. Obviously I’m not going to jump off the roof and I hope nothing happens, but I’m going to carry on doing what I love doing.

“I could stay in bed and something could happen to stop me playing in the Open.”

A top-two place in Munich on Sunday would allow Garcia to clinch his Royal St George’s spot via a mini order of merit that began five weeks ago.

Foster, a product of the same Worksop, Nottinghamshire, club as Lee Westwood, is looking for a first victory since winning a six-man playoff for the 2003 Dunhill Championship in South Africa.

The Englishman has rued losing several chances of winning since then.

“It’s been bitter-sweet,” he said. “I’ve had the ecstasy of winning but the horrible feeling when it goes wrong. You either get back on the horse or stay off it.”

Goosen is trying to end an even longer wait than Garcia, having not tasted European Tour success since 2007. The South African lost a playoff to Stenson for the Munich title in 2006.

Briton Lee Slattery could also have shared second spot but ran up a one-stroke penalty on 16 after forgetting preferred-lies were not in operation and picking up his ball.

Scores

BMW International Open RELATED STORIES









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