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Sergio Garcia takes lead at The Barclays

August 26, 2012 -- Updated 0335 GMT (1135 HKT)
Sergio Garcia at the Barclays
Sergio Garcia at the Barclays
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sergio Garcia takes lead after third round at Bethpage
  • American Nick Watney sits second after difficult third round
  • Tiger Woods holed a 53 foot putt on his way to a round of 72
  • McIlroy made amends for his poor second round, carding a 69

(CNN) -- Sergio Garcia leads The Barclays, first leg of the lucrative FedEx Cup playoffs, after Saturday's excellent third round that puts him firmly in contention for the title. American Nick Watney is two strokes behind after a round of 71.

A win at Bethpage would see Garcia top the FedEx cup points table.

Live scores from Bethpage

Tiger Woods sits tenth on four under after a difficult third round of 72. Recent US PGA champion Rory Mcilroy sits two under par after his third round of 69 helped him recover from his poor second round.

Read about Bethpage Black's vengeful course

Garcia hit a number of birdies to finish two ahead of the chasing pack, but it was a tremendous shot from the long grass on the tenth that stood out as Garcia chipped on to the fairway after hooking his shot well wide. The fine recovery helped the Spaniard rescue a bogey, when things could have been much worse.

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Garcia needs to finish well at Bethpage as he has already announced that he won't play at next week's Deutsche Bank Championship so that he can enjoy some rest before September's Ryder Cup.

Watney hit five bogeys to undo a good start. After three birdies in the first five holes he struggled on the back nine to leave him even at the end of his round.

Woods managed back-to-back birdies on the seventh and eighth to leave him one under. However, two bogeys on the back nine, after a fine birdie on the 13th, left the American one stroke over for the day.

The highlight of Woods' round was a 53 feet 1 inch putt on the eighth that helped him birdie the par three hole. The delightful put was the American's longest of the year.

McIlroy had one of the rounds of the day, hitting four birdies on his way to a final round of 69. The Northern Irishman had disappointed on Friday when he struck five bogeys to undo a promising first round.

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