Despite two late bogeys diluting some of his advantage, Garcia takes a one shot lead over Louis Oosthuizen into the third round, Oosthuizen’s round of 67 highlighted by a closing nine of 32 to all but catch the Spaniard.
Garcia began the day as he left off on Thursday with two birdies to begin his round but he played his next sixteen holes in 1 over par, allowing the field to stay in touch.
Garcia was disappointed but philosophical about his late lapse. “Well, it wasn't the ideal finish,” he said stating the obvious.
“Obviously I missed my tee shot on 16 a little bit. There wasn't much sand in the bunker. The club kind of bounced a little bit, but I felt like I hit a good shot on 17. Went a little farther than I thought. Managed to make a good four.
“My goal for the day was to shoot a sub-70 round and I had the chance on 18. I thought, you know, looking at their putts the way they rolled, I thought that my putter was going to be breaking probably left-to-right, my first putt, and unfortunately it didn't. It kind of went pretty straight.
“So then the second one, I said, well, I'll just hit it straight. Unfortunately moved to the left and then a big lip-out.
“We had some good moments and, unfortunately, these kind of things are going to happen throughout the week, and on a golf course like this, so we're still in the lead and you know, it's not a bad spot to be.”
Oosthuizen’s round was threatened by a double bogey at his 8th hole but he recovered well with a strong closing nine and although one of the few great South African players to yet win this iconic event he looms large as a potential threat to Garcia.
Finland’s Mikko Korhonen added a round of 70 to be alone in third place two behind Oosthuizen and three from the lead.
Australia's Jason Scrivener, who began the event well with a round of 69 yesterday lost considerable ground on day two, a double bogey at the last a painful way to finish up what had already been a battle for him.
He shares leading Australian honours with Lucas Herbert whose round of 69 in the windy conditions today improved him 29 places from his overnight 58th. He and Scrivener are tied for 29th place at 1 over while Wade Ormsby is at 3 over.
New Zealander Ryan Fox is tied for 19th at 1 under par.
SIGNATURE HOLES: 17TH AT PORTARLINGTON GOLF CLUB VICTORIA
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