The U.S. team of Scott Verplank and Bob Tway shot a 64 and was
three shots off the lead along with Ireland (64), Sweden (64) and
defending champion South Africa (64). Japan (65) was four back with
the Netherlands (63) and Australia (65) five behind. Austria (68)
was six behind
Playing before a home crowd on the palm-lined Real Club de Golf
de Sevilla, Garcia put Spain into the lead on the 16th hole with a
5-foot eagle putt -- his second eagle of the round. Spain is 24
under for three rounds.
"I really enjoy it when there is a big crowd following because
I get a bit more into it," Garcia said. "I have a lot of people
to make happy, to show what I can do."
The English pair of Luke Donald and Paul Casey began the round
with a five-stroke lead over second-place Austria and six ahead of
a half dozen other teams, including Spain. But England faded to a
68 in the day's better ball format. Sunday's final round will be
the more difficult alternate shot format.
"There were a few opportunities that just lipped out today, a
couple of chips I hit lipped out," Donald said. "If those had
gone in for either of us, it could have been a very satisfactory
The United States had six birdies on the front nine, with
Verplank knocking in a 10-foot eagle putt on No. 13 to move to 21
under and threaten the lead. But the Americans managed only pars on
the final five holes.
The Oklahoma neighbors entered the event only after nine other
higher-ranked Americans turned down the invitation. They played
with Garcia and Jimenez and fed off the big crowds.
"I enjoy having all the people out there," Verplank said.
"They all love Sergio and Miguel. It makes it a little more
Despite a sunny day, scoring conditions were slightly more
difficult than the first two rounds because of shifting winds and
tougher pin placements.
The Spanish players, who helped Europe to a lopsided win over
the United States two months ago in the Ryder Cup, were 4 under
after eight holes. Then they birdied five of the next six holes,
saved par on No. 15 and moved ahead of England when Garcia hit a
140-yard wedge to 5 feet and dropped an eagle putt on No. 16.
"They are a formidable team under any circumstances, but with
the passion they have, they are going to be tough to beat,"