Published Saturday, 02 August 2014
Rory McIlroy in action on Friday at the WGC. (© Getty)
The pair lead the field as Europe bids for a rare victory in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
At 14 under par, Garcia held a five-shot lead over Open champion McIlroy and Australian Marc Leishman, with England's Justin Rose another shot back alongside American Keegan Bradley.
Tee times had been brought forward several hours due to forecast thunderstorms, but the final group had just finished the 15th hole when the threat of lightning forced players off the course.
It was still raining when play resumed in front of a handful of people three hours and 15 minutes later, spectators having been instructed to leave the course during the delay.
After the restart, 34-year-old Garcia struggled to recapture his rhythm and had to battle to par the final three holes.
In contrast, McIlroy missed a good birdie chance on the 16th but picked up shots on the 17th and 18th to card a third round of 66 and finish 11 under, three behind Garcia, who returned a 67.
"I came here this week talking about wanting to just keeping the momentum going and not really dwell on The Open too much and keep moving forward and I have done that really well this week," McIlroy said.
"I'm obviously really excited to give myself another chance to win a tournament tomorrow.
"I drove it great at the Open as well and have been driving it great all year and that's why my results have been pretty good. Driving is the foundation of my game and if it's good it seems like everything feeds down from there and I've never driven the ball better than I am right now."
Leishman and world number one Adam Scott were two and three shots behind McIlroy respectively, the Australian pair having finished joint fifth together in the Open.
"It's great to see all the guys continue their good play," McIlroy added.
"Sergio was chasing me down at Liverpool, I'm going to try and chase him down this week and we'll see what happens. It's a great leaderboard with a lot of good names and hopefully it will be a good battle tomorrow."
On Friday, McIlroy hit a stunning six under par second round to lie four shots behind the leader.
At the half way stage of the tournament, the Co Down golfer sat at third place tied with Leishman and behind Rose and Spain's Garcia.
Garcia, who shot a 61, said: "I've been fortunate to have some good rounds but I think that was my lowest round in tournament play and also my lowest nine holes so it was very nice,"
Portrush's Graeme McDowell is one over after Friday's level par round of 70 while last year's winner Tiger Woods is 10 shots off the lead before Saturday's penultimate round.
Woods is playing just his third event since back surgery in March, but needs to finish the equivalent of third in Akron and third in next week's US PGA Championship at Valhalla to make the FedEx Cup play-offs
"I didn't hit the ball well. I didn't putt well. I didn't do anything well," Woods said after a round containing three birdies and four bogeys.
"The only thing I did well was I fought hard, grinded hard. Unfortunately, it wasn't very good today."
The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is one of the annual World Golf Championships where the winner is set to pick up $1,530,000.
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