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Garcia positioned for first major title

Most players conceded that Garcia would either need to back up or shoot level par to be caught Sunday. Els was hoping for another final round like the one he played at the Scottish Open last weekend, when he fired a 65 to finish just one shot out of a playoff.

Stricker, who was disappointed to miss the big doings in his home state of Wisconsin this week, the U.S. Bank Championship of Milwaukee, last played in the final group of a major with Vijay Singh at the 1998 PGA Championship at Sahalee. Stricker hung tough that time, shooting 70 to lose by two. Since then he's made a reputation as a player who plays better on tougher courses. He tied for 13th at the U.S. Open at Oakmont earlier this summer, finished second at the AT&T National at Congressional two weeks ago, and made seven birdies and no bogeys on Saturday. He led the field with just 23 putts.

"It was just one of those rounds where everything kind of went right," Stricker said.

Garcia said he wasn't surprised at the identity of his closest pursuer.

"I think he's been playing great in the majors lately," Garcia said. "He's been having some good rounds and some good tournaments. He hasn't won, I think, but he's been up there. He's been kind of like me."

When Stewart McDougall of the R&A brought the questions to a close, Garcia went off to do a little bit of stretching to "calm myself down a little bit." He was looking forward to some of his mom's cooking, and a bit of TV with his brother and sister and parents. He would sleep great, he said.


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