Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Canizares the surprise leader at Wentworth

updated 2:20 PM EDT, Sat May 25, 2013
Alejandro Canizares is bidding to win his second title on the European Tour and first since 2006.
Alejandro Canizares is bidding to win his second title on the European Tour and first since 2006.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Alejandro Canizares leads the PGA Championship heading into the final day
  • Canizares cards a four-under 68 Saturday to lead Lee Westwood by one shot
  • Matteo Manassero trails Canizares by two shots at the European Tour's flagship event
  • Sergio Garcia, who considered skipping Wentworth, remains in contention

(CNN) -- With Rory McIlroy, the world's second-ranked golfer, and defending champion Luke Donald not surviving the cut at the PGA Championship, the door was opened for others at the European Tour's flagship event.

Spain's Alejandro Canizares took advantage, leading at Wentworth in England heading into the final day after registering a four-under 68 to move to nine-under 207 overall.

Canizares, whose lone European Tour title came in Russia seven years ago, was forced to skip this month's China Open after being diagnosed with viral meningitis.

"I'm not at full strength but it's working for me, so I'm not going to complain," said Canizares, the son of Ryder Cup veteran Jose Maria Canizares.

Read: McIlroy, Donald falter

Matteo Manassero of Italy, at 20 bidding to become the youngest winner of the event, and Scotland's Marc Warren sit tied for third at seven-under, a shot better than Ireland's Shane Lowry.

But it's the player in second, England's Lee Westwood, who might fancy his chances Sunday.

Florida welcomes two new resorts
The toughest shot in golf?
The return of golf's 'Mechanic'

Westwood, twice a runner-up at Wentworth, a Ryder Cup stalwart and the only member of the top five inside the top 50 in the world rankings, is a single shot behind Canizares.

Westwood, who recorded a 67 in the third round, said it would be "ironic" if he won the title months after moving his family from England to Florida.

Although not matching the weather in Florida, Saturday's conditions were significantly better than chilly Thursday and Friday.

"It would be great and I am after as many wins as I can get, but it's a crowded leaderboard and I will have to play as well, if not better than I did today," Westwood said. "I felt much more in tune with my swing and had a lot better distance and direction control with my irons and set up a lot of chances.

"It was one of the most fun days I have ever had on a golf course. It was good to see a lot more smiling faces and a lot more people prepared to take their hands out of their pockets and applaud.

"I also get great support here but even more so today."

Another golfer that praised the spectators was Spain's Sergio Garcia.

Garcia came under fire this week and issued an apology for his "fried chicken" jibe. He considered pulling out of the tournament. But Garcia played, made the cut and remains in contention, tied for sixth at five-under.

"The crowds here, I don't have words to explain what I feel towards them," Garcia, last a winner on the European Tour in 2011, said. "They have been amazing, every single tee, every single green, cheering me on, and I can never pay them back."

Read: Sponsor not pleased with Garcia

Also tied for sixth is the halfway leader, Italian Francesco Molinari, who slumped to a 73 in the third round. Popular Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, the oldest man in the event at 49, registered a 67 to rise to a tie for 14th at four-under.

British Open champion Ernie Els, undone by bogeys on the first and third holes, could only manage a par 72 and fell six shots behind the leader.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Bubba Watson is the Masters king, but can he win a major away from Augusta? Living Golf's Shane O'Donoghue has the lowdown.
updated 10:12 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Arnold Palmer
Arnold Palmer won his first major at Augusta, played there with the U.S. President and made a record 50 consecutive Masters appearances.
updated 8:02 AM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
He is remembered for designing one of the world's most famous golf courses, but the man behind Augusta died pleading to be paid.
updated 10:26 AM EDT, Wed April 9, 2014
Will Phil Mickelson win a fourth green jacket? Can Europe end its long Masters wait? Or will Adam Scott emulate the absent Tiger Woods?
updated 6:04 AM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
Take a trip around Augusta. From Eisenhower's toppled tree to the fiendishly-difficult Amen Corner, the Masters' home venue has it all.
updated 8:04 AM EDT, Tue April 8, 2014
He's been mistaken for Tiger Woods' ball-boy, but that won't be the case when amateur star Matt Fitzpatrick tees off at the Masters.
updated 8:28 AM EDT, Fri April 4, 2014
2012 Masters Champion Bubba Watson shows us how to hit the long ball.
updated 2:27 PM EDT, Thu April 3, 2014
CNN's Shane O'Donoghue meets Billy Payne -- the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club.
updated 1:39 PM EDT, Thu April 3, 2014
Shane O'Donoghue meets Ben Crenshaw who won his first of two Masters thirty years ago this month.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Thu April 3, 2014
CNN's Shane O'Donoghue walks in the footsteps of the famous British golf course architect.
updated 9:00 AM EDT, Thu March 27, 2014
They carry a bag for a living but these men can bring home six-figure incomes. Welcome to the world of a caddy.
CNN's Alex Thomas welcomes golf opening itself up to women, but questions the motives behind the decision.
ADVERTISEMENT