AKRON, Ohio – Sergio Garcia appears to be in control at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he will need to fend off the hottest player in the game in order to hoist the trophy Sunday at Firestone Country Club. Here’s what You Oughta Know heading into the final round, where Garcia leads Rory McIlroy by three shots:
• Garcia’s lead seems comfortable, but he’s hardly a sure thing from the pole position. He has held a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour 11 times previously but has gone on to win only three times, most recently at the 2012 Wyndham Championship.
• Garcia has also seen multiple-shot leads disappear during final rounds. He is one of only six players in PGA Tour history to forfeit a six-shot advantage through 54 holes, having done so at the 2005 Wells Fargo Championship, where he lost a playoff to Vijay Singh.
• McIlroy sits three shots back, but three of his seven PGA Tour wins have been of the come-from-behind variety, including in successive weeks at the 2012 Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship.
• McIlroy also has an outside shot on regaining the top spot in the world ranking. Two weeks after his Open Championship triumph, he would become No. 1 with a win and an Adam Scott finish outside the top five. Scott will begin the final round in a three-way tie for fourth.
• While Garcia leads the tournament, Marc Leishman leads the field in birdies, with 17 through 54 holes. Leishman is alone in third place, five behind Garcia and in line for his best career finish at a WGC event with an outside chance to win on the PGA Tour for the second time.
• Keegan Bradley is again contending at Firestone, which should come as no surprise. Bradley won here in 2012, was a runner-up last year and tied for 15th in his 2011 debut. He will begin the final round in a tie for fourth, six shots off the pace.
• Bradley is also in position to make a significant move in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings with only one more event remaining in the qualification process. Bradley is currently in 15th position, 285 points behind Patrick Reed for the final automatic spot, and will earn one point per $1,000 earned Sunday.