European Tour

Storm forces Monday finish at Valderrama

Sergio Garcia (Getty Images)
Sergio Garcia (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Sergio Garcia remains on course for a third title at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, but will now have to wait until Monday to complete his third and final round after play was suspended due to thunderstorms and heavy rain.

The defending champion - who also won the event in 2011 - is three strokes clear of nearest challenger Lee Westwood at Real Club Valderrama and will have 11 holes remaining when play restarts at 9.10 am.

Home favourite Garcia came into the third round at 10 under par and four shots clear, and after a number of weather delays over the first three days meant that the decision had been taken to reduce the event to 54 holes.

Following another one hour delay on Sunday morning, the 2017 Masters Tournament winner extended his lead to five strokes when he followed up three opening pars with his first birdie of the day at the fourth, courtesy of a brilliant 20-foot putt.

But after Garcia missed his close-range par putt at the fifth, 23-time European Tour winner Westwood followed up three straight birdies from the second with another gain at the eighth to jump to seven under par and reduce the lead to three shots, before play was suspended at 1.49 pm.

Seven-time European Tour winner Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño began the week in 125th place in the Race to Dubai Rankings, and produced opening rounds of 70 and 68 to give himself a good chance of retaining his European Tour card. He is currently in a share of third place at six under par alongside Ireland's Shane Lowry.

Finland's Mikko Korhonen is one shot further back on five under par, with six players then at four under par. That group includes Ireland's Gavin Moynihan, who got to six under par for the day through 15 holes before play was suspended, with a round that included an eagle, five birdies and just one dropped shot.

Scot Marc Warren and Englishman Matthew Nixon, who both began the week outside the top 116 mark required to retain their playing privileges, are also amongst the group on four-under par, while another Scotsman in David Drysdale and Australian Jason Norris are one shot further back at three under par.

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