Garcia and Bjorn still leading Dunlop Phoenix

Europeans Sergio Garcia and Thomas Bjorn ended the day as they started it Saturday, tied for the lead after the third round of the four-day, 200 million yen (dlrs 1.9 million) Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Miyazaki, Japan.

Europeans Sergio Garcia and Thomas Bjorn ended the day as they started it Saturday, tied for the lead after the third round of the four-day, 200 million yen (dlrs 1.9 million) Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Miyazaki, Japan.

Spaniard Garcia and Dane Bjorn each shot three-under-par 68 on another pleasant late autumn day at the 6,856-yard (6,267 meter) Phoenix Country Club course.

They were at 10-under 203 with one round left, three strokes ahead of Japanese players Shigeki Maruyama (61), Shusaku Sugimoto (69) and Hidemichi Tanaka (67).

Maruyama threatened to become the first player to break 60 on the Japanese tour, but had to settle for a mere course record after marking only a par at the relatively easy par-five 18th.

Englishman Lee Westwood just about surrendered any chance of successfully defending his title when he carded 74 to fall nine strokes off the pace.

Garcia threatened to run away with the tournament when he birdied three of the first six holes to jump four shots clear of the field.

But the brilliant 19-year-old watched his advantage whittled away by the persistent Bjorn, who recovered from a double bogey at the third hole.

"I got it back quickly," said Bjorn, a member of the victorious 1997 European Ryder Cup team, whose roller-coaster round included six birdies, one bogey and the double.

"I've been driving the ball too well not to shoot some decent numbers. I've got a good flight with my irons and it allows me to stop the ball quickly on these greens. I'm leaving myself with a lot of uphill putts. I'm excited with the situation I'm in," Bjorn said.

Garcia was not particularly happy after only parring the last hole, following what he estimated to be a 25-minute wait to play his second shot.

"Waiting breaks your timing, probably gives you too much time to think," said Garcia, who had five birdies, along with bogeys at the 13th and 15th holes. "I'm striking the ball well and putting better. I feel very confident."

Third-round scores Dunlop Phoenix golf tournament on the 6,856-yard (6,267 meter), par-71 Phoenix Contry Club course (Japanese unless noted):

Sergio Garcia, Spain 68-67-68ÿ203Thomas Bjorn, Denmark 69-66-68ÿ203Shigeki Maruyama 71-74-61ÿ206Hidemichi Tanaka 67-72-67ÿ206Shusaku Sugimoto 71-66-69ÿ206Naomichi Ozaki 70-72-65ÿ207Hiroyuki Fujita 67-72-68ÿ207Kaname Yokoo 65-72-70ÿ207Toshimitsu Izawa 71-69-68ÿ208Tsukasa Watanabe 70-68-71ÿ209Masahiro Kuramoto 72-71-67ÿ210Retief Goosen, South Africa 74-67-69ÿ210Ryoken Kawagishi 70-73-68ÿ211Mathew Goggin, Australia 67-75-69ÿ211Toru Suzuki 74-70-68ÿ212Chen Tze-chung, Taiwan 72-70-70ÿ212Todd Hamilton, United States 71-70-71ÿ212Nobumitsu Yuhara 70-70-72ÿ212Darren Clarke, Northern Ireland 70-70-72ÿ212Hisayuki Sasaki 68-70-74ÿ212Lee Westwood, England 71-67-74ÿ212

Comments