Canizares leads Westwood at Wentworth

Sergio Garcia is welcomed with warm arms at PGA Championship as fellow Spaniard Alejandro Canizares tops leader-board.

    Canizares leads Westwood at Wentworth
    Alejandro Canizares is one of three Spaniards in the top seven positions at PGA Championship [GALLO/GETTY]

    Wentworth, battered by wind and rain this week, almost turned into the Costa del Sol on Saturday so it was no shock to see Spain's Alejandro Canizares set the pace at the PGA Championship.

    The son of former Ryder Cup stalwart Jose Maria moved one stroke ahead of Lee Westwood after six birdies and two bogeys secured a third-round 68 and a nine-under tally of 207 on a sun-kissed day at the European Tour's flagship event.

    Former world number one Westwood, bidding to win the tournament for the first time in his 20th appearance, was alone in second place after a 67.

    Italy's Matteo Manassero (69) and Briton Marc Warren (70) were a further shot adrift on 209 while Sergio Garcia, the talk of the town following his racism row with Tiger Woods, was lurking ominously on 211 after a 68.

    "There were a lot more happy faces in the crowd today," Westwood told reporters.

    "A lot more people prepared to clap and take their hands out of their pockets, not trying to stay warm.

    "It was one of the most fun days I've ever had on the golf course I think. The crowds have always been good when I've played in England but I felt a lot of support today.

    "They must have missed me now that I live in Florida," laughed the Englishman.

    For a player of his high class, Westwood has a less than impressive record in the PGA Championship having managed only four top-10 finishes in 19 previous outings.

    Garcia gracias

    Garcia spoke of his unending gratitude to the Wentworth galleries after soaring into title contention with a sizzling four-under-par 68 in Saturday's third round. 

    The 33-year-old Spaniard was embroiled in a racism row with Tiger Woods earlier this week and had to issue an unreserved apology after making a "fried chicken" jibe at the world number one.

    Garcia was almost lost for words as he was asked to describe the reaction he had received from the crowd at the European Tour's flagship event.

    "The crowds here, I don't have words to explain what I feel towards them. They have been amazing, every single tee, every single green, cheering me on, and I can never pay them back"

    - Sergio Garcia

    "It's getting better every day, there's no doubt everybody has made it so much easier for me," he told reporters after finishing with a five-under total of 211.

    "The crowds here, I don't have words to explain what I feel towards them. They have been amazing, every single tee, every single green, cheering me on, and I can never pay them back."

    Garcia said former world number one Lee Westwood had also made a remark to him about how good the fans had been to the Spaniard.

    "I think Lee was playing behind on Thursday and he said to me, 'I don't think I've ever heard a roar like that for anybody going on to the first tee here', said the Ryder Cup stalwart.

    "That was very nice.

    "I love playing here and I love playing in the UK. I've always said it, in my mind, these are the best crowds we have - they really understand the game of golf and what it's all about."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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