A crucial birdie at the 17th hole left Sergio Garcia with a one-shot lead at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters on Saturday after Daniel Brooks came from nowhere to put himself in contention.
Tournament host Garcia - who won this event when it was last held in 2011 - began day three in Sotogrande one shot adrift of overnight leader Joost Luiten but, while the Dutchman struggled, the Masters champion edged himself clear thanks to a three-under 68.
Early on, it looked as though the Spaniard could slip out of the running as back-to-back dropped shots cancelled out birdies at two and three.
There was another bogey to come at 15, but Garcia picked up four more shots – including one at his penultimate hole – to sit on -8 for the tournament.
His nearest challenger is Brooks after a stunning 64 that saw him storm up the leaderboard, the Englishman having sat six strokes back after round two.
Five birdies before the turn soon had him in the higher echelons and he would have signed for a 62 had he not dropped shots at 16 and 18 – scores that denied him the outright lead.
Such a round is timely for the 30-year-old, who will lose his playing privileges if he finishes outside the top eight.
Instead he is one behind Garcia, with Luiten a further shot back after rescuing his round with a four at the par-five 17th.
Still in touching distance of Garcia on five under are Jamie Donaldson and Scott Jamieson, while Wade Ormsby heads into round four on three under.
Meanwhile, Robert Rock endured a difficult day as he dropped six shots off the pace, having been level with Garcia after 36 holes.
23. Mai 2018
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