Sergio Garcia’s chance of repeating as winner of the $2.9 million Valderrama Andalucia Masters looks pretty good. The Spaniard takes a four-shot lead into the final round of the weather-shortened tournament after a 7-under, second-round 64 at the 1997 Ryder Cup course.
The rain in Spain has reduced the tournament to 54 holes, meaning defending champion Garcia only needs another good 18 holes to win the tournament for the third time. He also won in 2011.
Garcia enjoyed a bogey-free day. He played the front nine in 33 strokes, 2 under, and went three strokes better on the back, shooting a 5-under 31 to move to 10-under. England’s Ashley Chesters is his nearest rival at 6 under after 1-under 70.
“The conditions were pretty favorable because we had a lot of rain and the greens were very soft,” Garcia said. “I did see a four or five under if you played well but it was one of those days where I struck the ball well. Every time I had to get up and down I did. I was very consistent the whole day so that makes a big difference.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to play well tomorrow and get another win at Valderrama.
“Hopefully I can finish it in style.”
Chesters is taking a nothing to lose attitude into the final round.
“There is only one round to go and I’m not too far off the lead,” the 29-year-old Englishman said.
“There’s always a chance. There’s not a lot of pressure on me. I’ve had a decent year. I’ve got my card sorted and I’ve got the last few events to aim to get into if I can have a good week here. I’ve not really got a lot to lose so I can have a go tomorrow and see what happens.
“I’ll be playing with Sergio, who was always one of my favorite players when I was growing up. I would imagine there will be quite a lot of Spanish people hoping he will win.”
Not hoping, but expecting Garcia to win his 15th European Tour event at a canter. Chesters might have to shoot the round of his life to deny him that win.