Garcia Up by Two in The Barclays

Sergio Garcia carded a 2-under 69 - his third round in the 60s - to take the lead in The Barclays at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y. The 32-year-old Spaniard is now at 10-under 203, two strokes ahead of fellow 36-hole leader Nick Watney, who shot a 71 Saturday in the $8 million event - the first in the four-tournament FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Before an occasionally boisterous crowd, Garcia, who won last week's Wyndham Championship for his first American title in four years, posted five birdies and three bogeys at the par-71, 7,468-yard public course. Watney could have been a stroke closer to Garcia heading into the final round, but the Sacramento native bogeyed the par-4 18th. The two will be paired again on Sunday.

Rising up the leaderboard into solo third was Kevin Stadler, who fired Saturday's low round, a 6-under 65. The 32-year-old Stadler, the son of 1982 Masters' champion Craig Stadler, got off to a hot start, making five birdies in his first seven holes. The former USC player settled down from there, carding another birdie and pars the rest of the way to reach 7-under 206.

Stadler, like his father a straight shooter when discussing his golf game, said of his performance so far: "My results this summer have been pretty poor but I've been striking the ball really well," he told reporters. "Just kind of waiting for the putter to come around. I hit it pretty good today; the first two days was the worst I hit it all summer and the putter kept me in. It was nice to match them both up today."

Sharing fourth at 207 are Brandt Snedeker (68) and 46-year-old Bob Estes, who followed up his 66 Friday with a 1-over 72. Right behind at 208 are Brian Harman (68), Greg Chalmers (68), Ryan Moore (70) and John Senden (72).

Phil Mickelson had a nice outing, carding a 4-under 67 to rise into a tie for 10th at 209 with William McGirt (67), Tim Clark (67), Louis Oosthuizen (68), Lee Westwood (68), Tom Gillis (68), Charl Schwartzel (69) and Tiger Woods (72).

After opening with a 68 and 74, Mickelson was pleased to go low again. "It was a great day," said the four-time major winner. "We'll see how the leaders do and whether I'm in striking distance or not but for me personally it was good to a good round in, putted well on the greens, hit a lot of good shots and starting to drive the ball well, so it was a great day to get some momentum."

Woods had difficulties all day on Bethpage Black's slick, poa annua greens, needing 31 putts en route to four birdies and five bogeys. Despite hitting a respectable 10 of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens, he wasn't able to take advantage of his chances. "Unfortunately didn't clean up on the greens," he told "I've never seen greens change like this, from they were yesterday to today. The grass even seems slippery. It was unbelievable how fast they got."

Tied for 18th at 210 are David Hearn (67), Bubba Watson (his third straight 70), Harris English (71) and defending champion Dustin Johnson (72). Right behind them at 211 are Ryan Palmer (68), Geoff Ogilvy (69) and Vijay Singh. The 49-year-old Singh started the day a shot behind Garcia and Watney but stumbled to a 76.

Also at 211 are the two top-ranked players in the world, No. 1 Rory McIlroy and No. 2 Luke Donald, who both posted 69s. McIlroy noted a difference between the course conditions the past two days, though his take was different than Woods'. "It was playing slightly easier than yesterday," said the 23-year-old Northern Irishman.

"There's a little bit of moisture on the greens early this morning which was nice, so you could see a few balls stopping on the greens. It's going to get more tricky as the day goes on and the greens are going to dry out. I could see this leaderboard being very, very bunched going into tomorrow," added McIlroy.

Other notable scores included a 77 by Pat Perez, who slipped from a tie for fifth into 32nd, and the second straight 75 by first-round leader Padraig Harrington.

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