The Spaniard carded a six-under third round to take a stranglehold on the rich winning purse.
Sergio Garcia fired a six-under par 65 on Sunday to stretch his lead over Sweden’s Henrik Stenson to two strokes after three rounds of the $8 million Deutsche Bank Championship.
The Spaniard, who took a one-stroke lead over Stenson into the third round, posted five of his seven birdies on the back nine at TPC Boston and had just one bogey to remain atop the leaderboard with a 19-under par total of 194.
“I was very happy with it,” Garcia said. “It wasn’t as easy as maybe it looked. I played very nicely, hit a lot of good iron shots … hit some really good putts.”
Stenson carded a 66 for 196 and was one stroke in front of Canadian Graham DeLaet and US veteran Steve Stricker.
DeLaet bounced back from an opening bogey with a vengeance, firing 10 birdies in a nine-under 62. Stricker — who nearly holed his tee shot at the par-three eighth hole — joined the Canadian on 197 with an eagle on the par-five 18th.
DeLaet was delighted with his round, but said he benefitted from players being allowed to lift, clean and place the ball in the fairway, the rule invoked on the sodden course after a lengthy rain delay.
In order to get the round completed, and stay on track for a Monday finish on the US Labor Day holiday, officials scrapped the partial scores of players who teed off before the delay, then redrew the groups and sent players off from the first and 10th tees.
World number one Tiger Woods couldn’t take advantage of the rain-softened course, firing a one-over 72. His four bogeys of the day included three in a row starting at the 10th hole and he made the last of his three birdies of the day at the par-three 16th.
“I didn’t play very well today,” said Woods, who was six-under through 54 holes. “I didn’t hit it well and didn’t make anything.”
Woods looked grim as he walked off the 18th green, having hit just seven of 14 fairways and 12 greens in regulation.
“The course is gettable, that’s for sure,” Woods said. “You could be very aggressive and not have to worry about anything. Just one of those days I had a bad day at the wrong time.”
Woods came into the second of four events in the US PGA Tour playoffs leading the playoff standings.
Only the top 70 in the standings will be eligible for the BMW Championship in a fortnight, with the top 30 after that advancing to the Tour Championship where a $10 million playoff bonus will be on offer.
Garcia said the key on Monday, when officials will again send players off from two tees in threesomes in a bid to beat inclement weather, will be to keep the same mindset.
“It’s the same as any tournament I’ve played when I’m the leader in the last round,” he said. “I just have to commit to what I’m doing.”