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Sergio leads Rory, Phil and others W/D in Denver

Weekend Preview – PGA Tour – FedEx Cup Playoffs – BMW Championship –Cherry Hills Country Club – Cherry Hills Village, Colorado –

Sergio Garcia tees off in the final grouping Saturday with the lead at Cherry Hills Country Club near Denver.

Garcia is searching for his maiden FedEx Cup Playoffs win. Based on a second-round 6-under-64 to reach 8-under overall, he leads the BMW Championship by a stroke over Ryan Palmer. Garcia is two up on fellow Ryder Cup teammate and World No. 1 Rory McIlroy.

The trio tees off at 1:20 p.m. local time.

The third leg of the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs has certainly been interesting in the mile-high air. Not that it has impacted anyone, but three high-profile players ended their tournaments overnight.

World No. 6 Jason Day , who was 7th in the FedEx Cup Playoffs standings, withdrew with a back injury. Day, who is projected 11th in the standings after Denver at this point, was runner-up at The Barclays and then contended last week until settling for T-7. He will earn a spot in the TOUR Championship and have a chance to capture the FedEx Cup with a victory.

Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson also withdrew. He cited the need for rest and will not qualify for the TOUR Championship at East Lake. Mickelson shot 76 Friday with just one birdie. His Ryder Cup teammate Keegan Bradley also bailed in Denver. Keegan’s situation is rules related concerning something that happened in round one.

Keegan (71-72 at T-41) was projected 31st in the standings. He had a chance to earn a spot at East Lake with a decent weekend in Denver. He will miss the TOUR Championship as well.

McIlroy, a 4-to-1 betting favorite at Ladbrokes.com heading into the tournament, is still the threat to win it. But, prior to Denver, he also mentioned the need to rest. It will be interesting to see if he can stay in the competition mentally if he slips back on the leader board.

McIlroy is T-3 alongside Billy Horschel, who finished T-2 last week to Chris Kirk at the Deutsche Bank. Rory is second in the overall FedEx Cup standings.

For Garcia, the 4th-ranked player in the world was a 20-1 selection to win the title. He managed five birdie Cherry Hills decides the winner and an eagle in Friday’s round when a number of players cracked par. He scattered just one bogey on his card.

Keep on eye on Palmer Saturday. His 64 Friday put him in the mix for a victory again. He led the Deutsche Bank after round one and was tied for the lead moving into the weekend at TPC Boston before slipped back on the weekend.

A host of players at T-4 have a chance to make a run Saturday on Moving Day. At 4-under and four back includes Masters champion Bubba Watson, Graham DeLaet and Hideki Matsuyama. Look for one of the contenders at 3-under (Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson) to make a move Saturday.

Other Golf News:

  • Chip Beck opened with a 7-under-65 on the Champions Tour at the Quebec Championship. Beck, 57, leads by a shot after one round. He is 81st int eh Charles Schwab Cup standings with his best finish of the season being at T-22 at the Boeing Classic.
  • Graeme Storm aced a shot to win a new BMW at the Omega European Masters. He is 16-under through three rounds and leads by Tommy Fleetwood by a shot. American Brooks Koepka is also in the mix at 14-under.
  • Derek Fathauer (12-under) after back-to-back 66s leads the Chiquita Classic in the Web.com Tour Finals. Three players are 10-under including Aussie Greg Chalmers, who shot 65 Friday. First-round leader Adam Hadwin is T-5 after carding 72 in round two.
  • Look for swings on the leader board at Cherry Hills. Ryan Moore, who shot 80 in the opening round, bounced back with a 69 in round two. Gary Woodland, tied for the lead after 18 holes at 3-under, shot 73 Friday and slipped to T-20. Woodland is projected at 29th at the moment in the FedEx Cup Standings and would earn a spot in the TOUR Championship.