NORTON, Mass. – Sergio Garcia was doing everything right. He had the lead going into the third round. He kept bogeys off his card and made two birdies on the front nine.
And he was losing ground Sunday in the Deutsche Bank Championship.
“You could make a lot of birdies if everything went exactly the right way, kind of like it went on the back nine for me,” Garcia said. “But you have to be patient and just wait for the right time.”
Garcia regained control on the back nine of the rain-softened TPC Boston, making five birdies for a 6-under 65 that gave him a two-shot lead over Henrik Stenson. Garcia hit 4-iron from 218 yards onto the 18th green for a two-putt birdie as darkness settled over New England on this longest of days.
But nothing is close to being settled at this FedEx Cup playoff event.
“There’s heaps of low scores out there,” Stenson said after his 66. “You have to keep making birdies if you want to have anything to do with this tournament. Today was no different. It’s going to be the same tomorrow. I’m sure everyone is coming at us from all different angles.”
Tee times have been moved up to Monday morning because of the threat of more rain.
Garcia was at 19-under 194, though the Spaniard isn’t great at protecting 54-hole leads. His record is 3-7 when he has at least a share of the lead going into the last day. And this Labor Day figures to live up to its name. It will take hard work to stay there.
Graham DeLaet of Canada all but locked up a spot on the Presidents Cup International team with a 62 that left him three shots behind along with Steve Stricker, who had a 63 and took a big step toward making the U.S. team for the matches next month at Muirfield Village.
PGA champion Jason Dufner had a share of the lead until cooling off on the back nine. He shot a 66 and was tied for fifth at 15-under 198 with Robert Castro (68).
About the only ones who couldn’t keep up were the star attractions at the start of the week — Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Mickelson had his second straight 71, and this one wasn’t exciting at all. He made three birdies, three bogeys and 12 pars and wound up 12 shots behind.
Woods, 13 back, didn’t get anything going early and fell apart on the back nine, starting with a tee shot into a hazard well right of the 10th fairway. He shot a 72.
“I just didn’t have it today,” Woods said. “I didn’t make anything. I had a bad day at the wrong time.”