Garcia puts Spain in sight of World Cup

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The Independent Online

Inspired by a breathtaking performance by Sergio Garcia, Spain took over the lead from England going into today's final round of the World Cup. On home soil - the Real Sevilla course was designed by Jose Maria Olazabal - and in front of the largest gallery of the week, Garcia and Miguel Angel Jimenez combined for a better-ball score of 61 to move ahead by one stroke.

Inspired by a breathtaking performance by Sergio Garcia, Spain took over the lead from England going into today's final round of the World Cup. On home soil - the Real Sevilla course was designed by Jose Maria Olazabal - and in front of the largest gallery of the week, Garcia and Miguel Angel Jimenez combined for a better-ball score of 61 to move ahead by one stroke.

England's pairing of Paul Casey and Luke Donald could not match their dramatics of earlier in the week, particularly in their foursome of 64 on Friday. Their overnight five-stroke lead evaporated with a 68. No other team scored higher. "There were a lot ofpars but two birdies each doesn't really cut it in fourballs," Donald admitted.

Whether Casey was affected by the overnight news that his contract with Titleist was not being renewed at the end of the year we will not know, since he has determined not to make any further comment on what could be termed "hategate".

Casey gave a long interview to a Sunday newspaper last week in which, as he later regretted, he utilised the word "hate" when trying to describe how he felt about Europe's opponents in the Ryder Cup. At no time did he use the word "stupid" and yet a subsequent tabloid report was headlined: "Americans are stupid. I hate them." It was that exaggerated message that was beamed to the States, ironically, where Casey lives for most of the year with his American girlfriend. Acushnet, who own the equipment company Titleist, acted swiftly in cutting their ties with the 27-year-old from Surrey.

"Mr Casey's comments do not reflect the views of the Acushnet Company and were not made in his capacity as an endorser of our products," the Acushnet chief executive Wally Uihlein said. "Both parties have agreed his contract will not be renewed."

Back on the golf course and for this team event it seems strange there are no team colours. Mostly there has been an assortment of attire on show, such as Casey's light blue shirt and Donald's orange one yesterday. But it should be noted that Ireland were in matching green when leading on day one, the English pair were both in white on Friday and yesterday Garcia and Jimenez both went out in Spanish yellow.

Jimenez was as steady as ever while Garcia rattled up five birdies and two eagles, at the fifth and the 16th, where his huge drive left him only a wedge from 144 yards to the green. He very nearly holed the shot for an albatross. "The way Sergio played today was brilliant," said his partner.

As Paul McGinley said: "Sergio's game is all about passion. That's why he plays so well in the Ryder Cup and he obviously has it this week. They make a formidable team." Casey and Donald may have got defensive with such a big lead but now know they need something similar to Friday's effort in the final round of foursomes today. Casey was looking forward to playing alongside the Spanish, who have been well supported this week. Garcia has particularly enjoyed that.

"I really enjoy playing with a big crowd," he said. "I get into it more because there are more people to make happy and more people to show what I can do." Ireland's duo of McGinley and Padraig Harrington birdied five of the last seven holes to lie three strokes behind along with the US, South Africa and Sweden.

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