Sergio Extends Spanish Open Lead


Sergio Garcia is within 18 holes of claiming his first professional title on his native soil.
The 22-year-old Spaniard shot a third-round 5-under 67 to move to 14-under-par 202, five shots clear of Italy's Emanuele Canonica entering the final round of the Canarias Open de Espaa at El Cortijo Club de Campo.
Seventeen-year-old Spanish amateur Rafael Cabrera and Englands Greg Owen are tied for third, six back at 8-under-par 208.
Cabrera's 67 was good enough to put him in the final threesome, along with Canonica and Garcia, who is intrigued by the grouping.
I am really looking forward to it and I am sure we will have a lot of fun, said Garcia. Hopefully he will have a good round and I will have a good round and we will try to take positions one and two.
Of course, Garcia has earmarked the top position for himself. He started the third round with a one-shot advantage, and recorded seven birdies to two bogeys Saturday at Gran Canaria. And despite a missed eight-footer at the last, Garcia was pleased with his score and his position.
Its great to be in the lead and Im very satisfield with the way I am playing,' said Garcia, who turned professional at this event in 1999. 'I am still missing a few putts but my long game has been so accurate recently that I am still managing to make a lot of birdies and shoot low scores.
A five-shot lead is good, obviously it would have been better if I had holed that putt at the last to make it six, but it is still my biggest lead as a professional and Im looking forward to the challenge and cant wait for tomorrow.
Garcia's lead could have been slimmer, but Canonica dropped four shots in three holes from the 15th. However, the Italian birdied the final hole for a 70 to ensure his place in the last group on the final day.
Aside from Garcia, the headliner was Gran Canarias own Cabrera, runner-up in the British Boys Amateur Championship at Ganton last summer. 'The Next Sergio' was 7-under-par for his round until bogeys at the 17th and 18th meant he had to settle for a 67.
I felt very good and very proud because I come from here and I was proud to go out in front of the local people and play well, he said. I didnt feel too much pressure because I had a lot of people out there supporting me which helped me relax and of course my father was caddying for me.
At the start of the week my objective was to make the cut and then maybe try and make the top 15 which would be a really good performance. Right now, I am still actually thinking like that and I think that is the best thing to do, not try and think about anything else.
To be compared to Sergio is a great honor, but I cant really be compared because he is a professional and I am an amateur and still at school. But he is an idol of mine and it will be great to play with him tomorrow.
Full-field scores from the Canarias Open de Espana