|Published:||Aug 27, 2011 5:04 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Aug 28, 2011 6:30 AM EDT|
GLENEAGLES, Scotland (AP) - Spain's Ignacio Garrido and England's Mark Foster will share a three-shot lead going into the final round of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles as they both seek a first tournament victory since 2003.
Garrido, the overnight leader by a stroke, shot a 3-under 69 in the third round on Saturday but was caught at the top of the leaderboard by Foster, the first-round frontrunner who carded a 68 by picking up all his shots on the par fives.
Two-time Ryder Cup star Thomas Bjorn was the biggest name among the group of players chasing Garrido on an overcast day in central Scotland, but a 71 leaves the veteran Dane alongside Spain's Pablo Larrazabal, Austria's Bernd Weisberger, Ireland's Peter Lawrie and Anthony Kang of the United States on 8 under.
Sixteen players are within five shots of the lead, with the bumpy and uneven nature of the greens on the PGA Centenary course - which will host the 2014 Ryder Cup - ensuring no player has run away with things.
Of the two leaders, Foster is the player in form, coming close with a string of chances this season to end his eight-year drought that goes back to the Dunhill Championship in South Africa.
Foster has held the lead at the French Open, the BMW International Open and the Scottish Open but hasn't managed to finish the job off.
"I've become a serial runner-up guy," said Foster, who hails from the central English town of Worksop, where Lee Westwood was also born.
"I'm going to sound like a new-age guy but I look beyond winning nowadays. I just do the same thing every day and see what happens."
Foster pounced on the long holes, with birdies on Nos. 2, 16 and 18 and eagling No. 9, where he chipped in from 15 feet.
"I made a conscious effort to hit the par fives in two," Foster said. "I didn't make a birdie outside the par fives."
Rather alarmingly for a course set to host the Ryder Cup in three years' time, Garrido - a member of the victorious European team at Valderrama in 1997 - was also unimpressed by the standard of the greens. In 2008, Lee Westwood branded them "awful."
"I don't think they are the best greens on tour ... I think they are harder than other greens but I think if it hadn't have rained as it has these last couple of days they would have been in good shape," Garrido said.
Garrido, who never kicked on after winning the European Tour's flagship PGA Championship at Wentworth in 2003, made five birdies despite struggling off the tee - the last coming at No. 16 where he smashed a driver from the fairway through fierce rain to the heart of the green to set up an eagle chance which he narrowly spurned.
Of the contenders for the 233,000 pounds ($380,000) first prize, the 68s made by Foster and Weisberger were the lowest scores of the day.
Seeking a 12th victory and a second of the year, Bjorn was erratic for much of his round but also birdied No. 16 to ensure he is still in contention.
Kang, the only American in the 67 players remaining, followed up a second-round 66 with a 69. After a poor 2011 so far, the Korean-born player is in 170th position in the Race to Dubai standings and needs a high finish at Gleneagles to keep his card for next season.
Defending champion Edoardo Molinari of Italy is eight shots off the lead after a 69, and home favorite and tournament chairman Colin Montgomerie slipped away after a 77, leaving him on 4 over.