Sergio Garcia charged from six shots back all the way into the lead at the BMW International Open in Munich today – and it gave him a chance to earn a place in next month’s Open Championship.
Joint seventh at last week’s US Open, Garcia grabbed seven birdies in the first 13 holes of his third round to continue his climb out of a slump that took him from second in the world to outside the top 80.
At halfway the 31-year-old Spanish star, who even took time away from the sport late last season, was down in joint 30th place.
But he then birdied the third and sixth, had four more in a row from the short eighth and another at the 372-yard 13th to move to 11 under par, one ahead of overnight pacesetters Henrik Stenson and George Coetzee.
Garcia needed a top-four finish to have a chance of grabbing one of the two Open places on offer from a mini-money list that has been running on the European Tour for the past month.
As Swede Stenson and South African Coetzee waited to tee off again Indian Shiv Kapur, England’s Lee Slattery and 18-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero also showed that it was another day for low scoring.
Kapur had an eagle and four birdies as he went to the turn in 30 – two better than Garcia – and when he made another birdie on the 16th he was alongside Stenson and Coetzee.
Slattery was only two behind after an outward 32 and Manassero, who has already had two European Tour victories at a younger age than anybody in history, was also four under for the round and eight under overall with six to play.
Last year’s Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie had a good day too, returning a 68 to improve from the cut-line of level par to four under.
He will probably need far lower than that in the final round, though, to take one of those Open spots.