NORTON, Mass. (AP) — Sergio Garcia only played in the Deutsche Bank Championship to make sure he kept advancing in the FedEx Cup playoffs. Steve Stricker showed up at the TPC Boston with hopes of making the Presidents Cup teams.
Now they have a great chance of winning against one of the strongest fields of the year.
And they have plenty of company.
Garcia took time to get warmed up on a soggy golf course Sunday, and it's a good thing he hit his stride. With birdies galore on the TPC Boston, he took a one-shot lead into the third round, made five birdies on the back nine for a 6-under 65 and needed just about every birdie to keep his nose in front.
He was two shots clear of Henrik Stenson going into the Labor Day finish.
That's nothing new for this tournament, a big course with wide fairways and pristine putting surfaces. Since the FedEx Cup began in 2007, the 54-hole lead has been an average of 15½ shots under par going into the final round.
Garcia, with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 18th hole, matched the 54-hole record of 19-under 194 set last year by Louis Oosthuizen.
"It always seems to be where we're playing under some soften conditions here," Stricker said after a 63 put him three shots behind. "Guys get in their minds here to shoot some good numbers and play well. It's a fun course. ... I think it's a good test. It's one of those if you're playing well, you can really shoot a good number. If you're not, it's difficult at times."
It was that way for Phil Mickelson, who had a 71 for the second straight day, this one not nearly as exciting — three bogeys, three birdies, the rest pars. He went from five shots behind to out of the mix, now 12 shots out of the lead.
And it was that way for Tiger Woods, who needed a rally and went the other direction.
Woods 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 began the back nine with three straight bogeys and ended with a three-putt par on the 18th for a 1-over 72. It ended six straight rounds in the 60s in the FedEx Cup playoffs, and much worse, left him with no chance of winning going into the off week. He was 13 shots back.
"I just didn't have it today," Woods said. "I just didn't hit it well. I didn't make anything. I had a bad day at the wrong time."
The third round was about an hour old when it was scrapped because of heavy rain and lightning, with scores erased and the round starting over in threesomes off both tees. Players had ball in hand — they could lift, clean and replace their golf balls through the greens, which helps bring the scoring down.
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