Garcia takes two-shot lead into D. Bank finale


Sergio Garcia made a final-hole birdie in near darkness Sunday to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship. Here’s the skinny on the third round at TPC Boston:

The leaderboard: Sergio Garcia (-19), Henrik Stenson (-17), Graham DeLaet and Steve Stricker at -16, Jason Dufner and Roberto Castro at -15

What it means: The top four players on the leaderboard are all winless in 2013, even though their seasons have been far better than their collective oh-fers suggest. It’s been a turbulent season for the leader, Garcia, who has four top 10s but none since May. Indeed, he has made more news for what he’s done off the course, especially in the wake of The Players. But this week was particularly important to the semi-retired Stricker, who needed a good week to likely secure a spot in the Tour Championship (currently 28th in points) and move inside the top 10 in Presidents Cup standings. A victory Monday would take care of both.

Round of the day: No player is hotter in these playoffs than Graham DeLaet, who after a third-round 62 is now 24 under par in his last five rounds. He finished 69-65 at The Barclays to finish T-2, and he’s only three shots back with one round to play at TPC Boston. After an opening bogey, DeLaet made 10 birdies in the next 17 holes to surge up the leaderboard and gave himself another opportunity to win for the first time on the PGA Tour. The course record here is 61.

Best of the rest: Stricker eagled the final hole to shoot a bogey-free 63 and get into the second-to-last group Monday. Jim Furyk, who has four top 15s in the last five years here, also shot 63 to move inside the top 10, while Kevin Stadler, Marc Leishman, Kevin Chappell and Rory McIlroy each had 64.

Biggest disappointment: After an encouraging two days together, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson failed to get anything going Sunday at TPC Boston, even in lift, clean and place conditions. Woods made three consecutive bogeys to begin the back nine and did well just to shoot 72, while Mickelson mixed three birdies with three bogeys during an even-par 71. Barring something miraculous Monday, they’ll both be playing for positioning heading into the off week.

Main storyline heading into Monday: Which of the Winless 4 will break through in the final round? The best guess here is Stenson, who certainly is due, after recording four top 3s in his last five worldwide starts. He’s first on Tour in ball-striking and fourth in scoring average.