Friday, 19 March 2010
England's Benn Barham jumped to the top of the leaderboard in the NCC Open in Sweden after equalling the Soderasens course record with an eight under par 63. He is on 12 under par 201, three strokes ahead of Sweden’s Marten Olander and five clear of the rest of the field.

Barham, who began the day four shots off the pace, was out in 31 with four successive birdies from the fifth, and came home in 32 with four more birdies. His return matched that of Swede, Leif Hederstrom set eight years ago almost to the day, on 3 June 1993.

Barham is enjoying a rich run of form. He finished tied fourth in France last week on 17 under, his best Challenge Tour performance, and his scores in Sweden means he is 29 under par for his last seven rounds.

Olander, who has been knocking on the door for his first Challenge Tour victory in recent weeks, had six birdies in a 66, going out in 31 with four birdies in five holes from the fifth.

There are four players in third place on 206. England's Simon Wakefield carded 67 with five birdies, while Ulrik Gustafsson from Sweden found an eagle and three birdies in his 67. Hennie Walters from, South Africa, shot 68, as did another Englishman, left-hander Stuart Little.

Overnight leader Johan Skold from Sweden slipped to a 73 for seventh spot on 207, while England’s Grant Hamerton, three behind Skold at the start, slipped to a 72 for joint 11th on 209. But England’s Mark Foster fared even worse, crashing from joint fourth almost to the end of the field after a 76.

Foster found trouble virtually from the start when he lost a ball in the trees on the second to run up a triple-bogey seven, then another shot went at the short third and he was unable to repair the damage. It leaves the 25 year old on 214 and joint 42nd.

Another Swede, Joakim Rask, also made progress with 67 for 208, almost driving the green at the 320m 18th, his ball finishing just a couple of yards in front of the putting surface. Rask shares eighth place with fellow Swede, Patrik Gottfridson (69) and England’s Gary Clark (68).

The late disqualification on Friday evening of Norway’s Oyvind Rojahn for failing to sign his card, meant that Adam Mednick was first out with a marker in round three but it did him little harm as he was round in 67 for a share of 11th place.

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