Wood outshines Garcia to take lead in Qatar

January 25, 2013, 11:23 AM

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

DOHA, Qatar — Chris Wood carded an 8-under-par 64 to surge into the lead at the Qatar Masters after the third round, taking a three-shot lead over one-time major winner Michael Campbell and two others on Friday.

Two shots behind Ryder Cup stars Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer after the second round, Wood quickly moved up the leaderboard with five birdies on the front nine on his way to a 15-under total of 201.

He made the turn in style, eagling the 10th when his second shot landed within 10 feet of the pin. He missed a short putt on 12 for bogey but bounced back with birdies on 14 and 16 to match fellow Englishman Simon Khan for the low round of the tournament.

"Yeah, I played pretty nicely. I wouldn’t say it’s one of my best. One of my better ones but not my best," Wood said. "I played similar to the way I played on Wednesday, the first round. Shot 67, could have been a few better."

The 142nd-ranked Wood is looking for his first European Tour win in his 115th event. He has come close on several occasions including in 2011 at the Iberdrola Open in Majorca when he came into the final day with a four-shot lead but scored a 76 to lose by three to Darren Clarke. Wood, however, won the Thailand Open last year on the Asian Tour, which the Englishman said has given him renewed belief in his game.

"A lot of confidence," he said of the Thailand victory. "Well, two or three weeks after I won, I had to withdraw from a couple of events as my back went, so all of a sudden, from going on a bit of a high from winning a tournament, to sort of picking yourself up to start again. The confidence seemed to be short-lived there, but hopefully I can sort of look back on that and it will help me tomorrow."

Khan also made a dramatic move on Friday, joining Campbell (68) and Alexander Noren (66) in second. The 486th-ranked Khan had six birdies on his first seven holes and a total of eight during his bogey-free round. He just missed a ninth birdie when his putt on 18 came up short.

"It was really good fun on the front nine, and I had a good up and down, actually, out of the sort of waste area on 3, which is a real tough one. Managed to par that and that really kept me going," Khan said. "And then, you know, to make all those birdies in a row on some difficult holes, as well, was great. I had a chance on 9, a 10-footer to go out in 29 and that’s the moment I thought about it and didn’t hit a good putt."

Campbell shot a third consecutive 68 to keep himself in contention, the latest sign that the 2005 U.S. Open champion was back in form after falling to 264th in the world. A win on Saturday would allow the former 12th-ranked Campbell to break into the top 100.

Garcia (70) fell into a tie for fifth with Brandon Grace (67) of South Africa, four shots behind. The Spaniard was in the hunt early on thanks to several long birdie putts, but then he bogeyed 15 and picked up a second bogey on 18 when his approach shot went into the water just left of the green.

"I can be a little bit disappointed with the score but not with the way I played," Garcia said. "Even the last shot, I thought I hit a nice shot, tried to draw it a little bit with a 9 iron and the wind just didn’t hold it at all and unfortunately it went in the water. But, you know, we managed to make a good up and down for bogey, and hopefully the putts that didn’t want to go in today will go in tomorrow."

Kaymer, too, struggled to remain in touch with the leaders. The former No. 1 settled for even par and was tied for 11th, six behind. Kaymer had a birdie on 2 but poor putting led to bogeys on 4 and 6.

"Very disappointing," Kaymer said. "I thought I hit more good golf shots today but putting was very tough. I missed I think a putt from a foot today, and one from two feet, and it’s just difficult to stay positive on the golf course."

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