Friday, 21 October 2011
Sergio Garcia  (Getty Images)
Sergio Garcia (Getty Images)
It was a case of 'Home Sweet Home' for Sergio Garcia as he took a giant stride towards his first victory for almost three years.

Competing on the Club de Campo del Mediterráneo course in Castellon he has known since he was a child, the 31 year old Spaniard fired an eight under par 63 to charge into the lead at the Castelló Masters.

It was only a stroke off his lowest round in either Europe or America and took him to 12 under par at halfway - two ahead of Swede Alex Noren, who was also round in 63 as he seeks a third win of the season.

As they were flying through the field, however, Britain's new star Tom Lewis was flying home.

Winner in Portugal on Sunday in only his third start as a professional, the 20 year old withdrew before the second round because of a virus.

Club champion when he was only 12, Garcia was six behind Noren when he teed off again and went into overdrive after taking six on the long fourth.

He eagled the 549 yard eighth from 15 feet and added six birdies to his opening one before saving par with a marvellous bunker shot at the difficult 17th.

"Because I'm home I've hit that shot so many times," Garcia said. "I hit it perfectly."

After falling from second in the world to outside the top 75, he is now back to 49th with top 12 finishes in the last three Majors.

"It's getting there," he added. "It's not quite there yet - sometimes I have a little bit of a hard time hitting a draw, but when my little fade works out I can keep it in play.

“At the weekend I’ll try to hit good shots, to putt well and I’m going to do my utmost.

“It’s nice to be up there, that’s why we train. It’s even nicer to be there on Sunday afternoon. Alex is right behind me so I need to keep focused.”

Noren won the Saab Wales Open in June and then a month later took his home Nordea Masters by seven - despite a closing 77.

With overnight leader Ross McGowan following up his 64 with a 70, the 29 year old set the early pace with eight birdies, something he did not expect before he teed off.

"It didn't feel that good on the range," Noren said. "But I found my swing and holed a lot of putts.

"I played probably the best I've ever played on the front nine."

McGowan is now joint third with Scot Gary Orr and Australian Marcus Fraser, while among those who missed the cut were Colin Montgomerie, José María Olazábal and John Daly.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1GARCIA, SergioESP18-27
2FDEZ-CASTAÑO, GonzaloESP18-16
T3NOREN, AlexanderSWE18-15
T3RAMSAY, RichieSCO18-15
5AIKEN, ThomasRSA18-14
6COETZEE, GeorgeRSA18-12

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