Garcia poised for elusive major title

Carnoustie, July 22:

Sergio Garcia kept his emotions in check at the British Open, shooting a 3-under 68 and staying right on course for that elusive major title on Saturday.

Garcia increased his halfway lead to three strokes over Steve Stricker and six over the rest of

the field with defending champion Tiger Woods eight behind and tied for 15th after a 69.

There were plenty of red numbers on the scoreboard, led by Stricker’s 7-under-par 64 that set a course record for an Open and was just one stroke off the tournament mark. But Garcia maintained a comfortable distance between himself and any would-be challengers. He posted a 2-under 34 on the front side and added another birdie at No 11, putting him three shots ahead of Stricker’s 6-under 207.

Ernie Els was among myriad players who posted scores in the 60s, his 68 ever more remarkable because it included a triple-bogey 8 at the sixth hole, one of the easiest on the course.

Chris DiMarco surged into contention again with a 66. Justin Rose of England and Pelle Edberg of Sweden both shot 67. Masters champion Zach Johnson, European Ryder Cup stalwart Paul McGinley and three-time major winner Vijay Singh were among those with 68s.

Woods scored in the 60s, as well, but it wasn’t the sort of major rally that he needed. A 1-under 212 left him eight shots off the lead. KJ Choi began the round only two strokes behind the leader and finished three under and tied for third after a 72.