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Friday, 19 March 2010
England's Andrew Marshall birdied two of the closing four holes to grab a one stroke lead going into the final round of the Charles Church Challenge Tour Championship at Bowood Golf and Country Club in Wiltshire.

The 27 year old from Norfolk carded a 68 for 205, 11 under par, to finish a shot clear of Sweden's Mattias Nilsson and two ahead of another Englishman, Richard Bland from Southampton.

Marshall, who financed his tour career by selling £50 shares in himself at Dereham Golf Club, has had several top 10 finishes this year and after signing for five birdies he said: "I am very keen to get a win after going close several times this year.

"This will be the first time I have led going into the final round of a Challenge Tour event and I will play just as aggressively tomorrow."

On another searingly hot day, Nilsson, who had six birdies, was ahead playing the short 17th, but he three-putted to drop a shot while Marshall's two late birdies saw him fall back into second place.

“My game is good and I’m putting well again after four or five poor weeks,” said the 25 year old Swede. “Shooting 68 doesn’t feel special, just good golf. I’m hitting the ball straight off the tee, which you must do here because the fairway bunkers are deep and if you get into them you are likely to drop a shot.”

Bland, who began the day five shots behind, came racing up the leaderboard with birdies at the closing four holes for a best-of-the-day 66. It gave him eight birdies in all and saw him climb to third on nine under par 207.

"I've been playing well for the last five of or six weeks but I keep shooting myself in the foot with a bad final round," he said. "It's about time I finished one off."

Two more Englishmen, Mark Foster from Worksop and Yorkshire's Iain Pyman are joint fourth on 208 after returning 71 and 67 respectively. "That's the best I've played this week," said Pyman, who had five birdies.

"I want a good finish this week because I'm ranked 28th and I need to make a move soon. I've been playing well but my putting has been poor. I have an average of 31 which is pathetic."

Sebastien Delagrange, currently top of the Challenge Tour rankings, continued to climb the leaderboard. A 70 leaves him in joint sixth spot on 209.

Another man who strung together four birdies was Swede, Johan Skold. He picked up shots at the second, third, fourth and fifth to be out in 33, and after adding two more on the back nine, dropped a shot at the last after driving into a fairway trap and missing from 10 feet for his par.

He finished with 68 for 210 alongside fellow Swede, Per Larsson, Italy’s Francesco Guermani, John Wells from England, and Denmark’s Mads Vibe-Hastrup, who is heading for yet another top 10 finish.

It wasn't a good day for the overnight joint leaders, Matthew Cort and Philip Golding. Cort slipped to joint 13th on 211 with a 75, while Golding joined Delagrange on 209 after signing for 73.

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Tournament Leaderboard

PosPlayer NameNatHolePar
1FOSTER, MarkENG18-11
T2DELAGRANGE, SébastienFRA18-9
T2GOLDING, PhilipENG18-9
4GUERMANI, FrancescoITA18-8
T5MARSHALL, AndrewENG18-7
T5DAMBERG, MattiasSWE18-7
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