Sweden’s Pehr Magnebrant overcame a bout of nerves to stay ahead after three rounds of the Finnish Masters in Helsinki. He carded a 70 for 202, 14 under par, and is two strokes ahead of fellow Swede, Johan Rystrom, who returned 67, and Christian Cevaer of France, who went round in a magnificent 64.
Magnebrant, who led by four at the start of the day, extended his lead with a birdie at the short second but then ran into back-to-back bogeys. However, he was out in 36 with another birdie at the ninth while two more birdies coming home settled his nerves and kept him ahead.
“It was steady but not good,” he said. “I was a little nervous at the start then I ran up those two bogeys and it set me back. It will be tough tomorrow and I need a good score.”
At one stage in the afternoon Magnebrant was caught by Christophe Pottier from France and then by Tobias Dier from Germany. But Pottier, who went out in 31, dropped three shots in the final four holes for a 68, while Magnebrant’s back nine birdies edged him in front again.
Cevaer was also out in 31 with five birdies and collected three more for an inward 33, rounding it all off by holing a 70metre pitch for a birdie-three at the last.
Rystrom had six birdies in his 67 on a day when birdies and eagles came thick and fast. Dier had an eagle and six birdies in his 65, which leaves him in fourth place, three stro0kes off the pace.
Henrik Stenson, currently No.2 on the rankings, also moved up with a 67 which included seven birdies, five in a row from the sixth, are shares fifth place with Pottier.
But one man who suffered was Paul Nilbrink. The Swede began the day four behind Magnebrant but sharing the fairways with him in the last match out. However, two bogeys and a double-bogey saw him out in 39 and he followed up with two more bogeys in a homeward 37 for 76 which drops him down to joint 33rd.
To underline how good the scoring was in perfect conditions, 22 players shot sub-70 rounds while only 17 of the 58-strong field failed to beat par.