July 22, 2007


Looking to close the deal: With three-shot lead, Garcia on the verge of his first major victory (Jim McCabe, July 22, 2007, Boston Globe)

[I]f it is Sergio Garcia's tournament to win, being in possession of a three-stroke lead, Steve Stricker is at peace with that, because after a passionate soul search, he is where he belongs.

"This is what I'm meant to do," said Stricker, 40, who a few years ago reassessed the doubts he had about his PGA Tour pursuits and recommitted to the game. On several occasions over the last two seasons, flashes of his once-upon-a-time promise reappeared, but it was under the glare of yesterday's third round that it shined brightest.

He mastered these majestic links hard by the North Sea, and in doing so equaled the course record with a 7-under-par 64 to hurdle 18 players and pull into second place at 6-under 207. Splendid stuff, for sure, but for an encore he'll be asked to take on Garcia, and that projects to be a formidable task.

At least it will be if the young Spaniard has turned a page in his career and has, as he insists, learned to keep calm and close the deal. If so, he would become just the seventh player in the illustrious history of this championship to own the outright lead after all four rounds.

"I can't wait to start," said the precocious 27-year-old after he shot 68 to get in at 9-under 204, his closest pursuer Stricker, though there's a seven-player logjam six back at 210 that includes Ernie Els (68), Padraig Harrington (68), and Chris DiMarco (66), while Tiger Woods (69) labors well back, tied for 15th at 1-under 212.

...since Tiger did anything that made you just say, "Wow!"

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 22, 2007 6:35 AM
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