The pair each carded three birdies on the front nine and added a further three more after the turn, combined with one bogey apiece, to move to nine under par in the European Tour’s season-finale at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Overnight leader Lee Westwood looked set to make it a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard, but the Englishman found the water on the 18th hole and finished with a bogey to drop back to eight under par, signing for a round of 70.
Another Englishman, Tyrrell Hatton, birdied the final two holes of the Earth Course for a six under par round of 66 to move to seven under par. The Alfred Dunhill Links Champion is in a share of fourth place alongside former Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel, who eagled the 14th hole in his round of 67, and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, who similarly made a three on the 14th before another eagle on the 18th hole capped his round of 67.
“I played nicely," said Garcia. "Obviously I didn't hit a good tee shot on 12 and 13. And I could have made some more putts, but it's not easy, when you're having 12, 15, 18-footers. You're going to miss some of them. We'll probably have to finish below 16-under par I'm guessing, so unless it gets really windy, which it doesn't look like it's going to happen, I'm going to have to keep firing and hitting good shots and making good putts.
“I'm excited for the weekend. It's good to be out there with a chance in the last tournament of the year. I just want to make sure that I keep playing the same way I've played these first two days and see where that takes us. We are all trying to get into contention as much as possible so when you get yourself into position for the weekend you want to try and take that opportunity as often as you can."
Meanwhile, in the contest for the European Tour Number One spot, Alex Noren improved his chances of beating his compatriot, Henrik Stenson, to the Race to Dubai crown with a round of 69 which moved the four-time winner to tied 14th place on four under par.Noren needs to finish second or better and hope Open Champion Stenson is outside the top eight, but Stenson is monitoring his progress closely after also returning a 69 to sit just one shot behind him on three under par, where he is joined by another Race to Dubai contender, Danny Willett, who carded a 70.
Marcus Fraser leads the two Australians in the field, the Victorian in a share of 29th position and two shots of Scott Hend.
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