SSI Err
Friday, 27 July 2012
Thorbjorn Olesen  (Getty Images)
Thorbjorn Olesen (Getty Images)

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Thorbjørn Olesen retained a firm grip on the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity as the Dane carded a third round 68.

The 22 year old’s four under par effort kept him three shots ahead of his closest challenger, Swede Rikard Karlberg, at Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg, Austria, as the tournament made up for lost time.

Heavy rain on the opening day and lightning on day two had left half the field with their second rounds to complete on Friday morning.

Olesen was already in the clubhouse with a 12 under par halfway mark, however, and none of those returning to the course on Friday morning managed to get close to him.

Once the third round began, Olesen made a steady start with seven pars and birdies at both par fives on the front nine.

He picked up further shots at the tenth and 11th holes, before parring his way in to go into the final round three ahead of Karlberg.

The Swede had four birdies in his last six holes, including a 12 footer at the 17th hole, to sign for a round of 66 and move into solo second on 13 under par.

Sicilian Open winner Olesen was ninth at last week’s Open Championship, and the rising star felt he should have been even further in front.

“I didn't hit the ball as well I did on the first two days,” said the World Number 99.

“I still had some good opportunities – I could've taken a few more, but the fact that I’m feeling slightly disappointed with a 68 is probably a good sign, because it shows how well I’m playing and how high my expectations are.

“There was no wind at all so it was a perfect day for scoring, and I saw a few of the guys took advantage and went low. Hopefully I can do the same tomorrow.”

Benjamin Hebert carded a joint-best-of-the-week round of 64 to move into a share of third place alongside compatriot Thomas Levet, England’s Richard Bland and home favourite Bernd Wiesberger.

Challenge Tour graduate Hebert, without a top-30 finish all season, enjoyed playing with first round leader Pablo Larrazábal.

The Spaniard appeared to have dropped out of contention when he followed his opening round of 64 with a 76 and dropped three further shots at the start of his third round, but came storming back with seven birdies in eight holes from the ninth hole for a round of 68 and an eight under par total.

“I played fantastically well,” said Hebert. “It was very nice to play with Pablo [Larrazábal] and Peter [Hedblom], because there was a very nice atmosphere.

“Pablo was making lots of birdies, so I think we were having a little competition between us! I'm not sure who won in the end, but I'm very happy anyway.”

Levet dropped shots at the first and third holes, but the former Alstom Open de France winner came roaring back with birdies from eight feet at the eighth hole and 12 feet at the ninth, before posting an eagle at the long tenth.

Bland, seeking his first European Tour win in his 281st  start, made five birdies around the turn, but missed a six footer for par at the last hole to drop into a tie for third with a round 68, while Wiesberger went one better with a 67.

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