Garcia climbs leaderboard with 68 at Muirfield

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Updated: 7/20/2013 12:22 pm

East Lothian, Scotland (Sports Network) - When he left the course on Friday, Sergio Garcia wasn't sure if he'd even be around for the weekend. After making the cut by two, Garcia moved into contention with a solid early round at the British Open.

Garcia carded a 3-under 68 Saturday morning to jump to 3-over-par 216. When he walked off the course, he was tied for 22nd.

The Spaniard has the clubhouse lead by two strokes, but he finished before the last few groups even started their third rounds at Muirfield.

Garcia was in a similar position in 2002 at Muirfield as he started the third round in 26th place and carded a 71 before the worst of the weather blew in. He finished that round in third place. Garcia went on to share eighth, but a similar thing could happen today.

The weather on this Saturday is completely opposite of 2002, with warm temperatures and breezy conditions. If the greens continue to dry out like they have the first two days, Garcia could find himself right in contention for his first major championship title.

Garcia picked up early birdies at the second and sixth to get to 4-over for the championship. He bogeyed the eighth for the third straight day, but atoned for that mistake with a birdie on the ninth for the second day in a row.

Around the turn, Garcia birdied the 10th, but gave that stroke back with a bogey on the 11th. He again traded a birdie for a bogey from the 12th.

Garcia parred four in a row from the 14th before closing with a birdie at the last. His 68 matched Richard Sterne for low round of the day honors.

The 33-year-old Garcia has four top-10 finishes in the last eight Open Championships, including a runner-up finish in 2007, which was his best finish at the British Open.

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