Sergio Garcia made it look as simple as closing his eyes and waking up to a share of the 54-hole lead, keeping a clean card on his way to a 6-under 66 and a three-way tie at the top Saturday in the Sanderson Farms Championship.
In his debut at the Country Club of Jackson with its pure, fast greens, Garcia stuck to his routine of closing his eyes over putts to get a better feel. He converted most of his chances to share the lead with J.T. Poston and Cameron Davis.
They were at 14-under 202 going into a final round in which 10 players were separated by four shots.
Davis opened with five straight birdies, and the Australian’s biggest highlight was a fairway metal into 10 feet for eagle on the par-5 14th hole that carried him to a 9-under 63.
He was the first to post at 202, and then Garcia and Poston caught up to him.
WATCH | Davis, Garcia, Poston tied at the top:
Poston reached 15 under with a two-putt birdie on the 14th and a pitch from the rough to 4 feet on the reachable par-4 15th. But he was too steep on a bunker shot on the 16th, coming up 30 feet short and leading to bogey. Poston stayed in a tie by saving par from a bunker on the 18th with a 12-foot putt for a 69.
Brandt Snedeker, looking confident with that pop of a putting stroke, shot a 67 and was one shot behind along with Kristoffer Ventura, the former Oklahoma State start from Norway who had a 68.
For Keegan Bradley, it was a battle. Staked to a two-shot lead going into the weekend, he had three bogeys on the front nine before he hit a hybrid from 255 yards to 15 feet for an egle on the 11th hole. He finished with seven pars for a 73, though he was very much in the picture.
Bradley was at 12-under 204 along with Aaron Wise (67) and Dan McCarthy (69).
Garcia is trying to extend a streak in which he has won somewhere around the world each of the last nine years dating to 2011, which also was the last time he was outside the top 50 in the world. Garcia slipped out to No. 51 this week and decided to play the Sanderson Farms Championship for the first time.
He also reverted to putting with his eyes closed, which he said he has done at various points during his career, including the 2017 Masters that he won in a playoff with Justin Rose.
That Masters is the last time Garcia had a share of the 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour.
Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., carded a 69 to sit four shots back, while fellow Canadians Roger Sloan (71) of Merritt, B.C., is seven off the lead and Michael Gligic (75) of Burlington, Ont., is 11 shots off the pace.