Saturday, 26 April 2003
A packed leaderboard at the Canarias Open de España sees six players sharing the top position on 19 under par 197, including the 17 year old Spanish amateur, Pablo Martín. He is joined by fellow countryman Santiago Luna, Søren Hansen of Denmark and the English trio of Paul Casey, Kenneth Ferrie and Simon Khan.

Martín, the 17 year old, current Spanish Amateur Champion and the British Boys Champion in 2001, from Guadalhorce Club de Golf in Málaga, had a round of 64 with eight birdies and no mistakes.

“I am happy, today I played more solid than the first two rounds. Yesterday I was nervous, my hands were shaking on the last three holes (bogey, bogey, par) but today, I felt very relaxed.

"I play at Guadalhorce, a golf club where many professionals practice and the atmosphere is great, I usualy play with Carlos Rodiles and Miguel Ángel Jiménez, when he is not travelling.

"On Thursday after the round, Miguel Ángel gave me a tip at the range, he helped me with the driver, since then, I’ve been hitting the ball quite well. If I play like I did today I think I can win, why not?."

Casey, who has already tasted victory this season in the ANZ Championship and who carded a third round , said: “I did not play great golf today, made quite a few mistakes, but still I am tied for the lead. I am not worried, I feel very relaxed after the six weeks break and I am looking forward to tomorrow."

Luna carded a 66 and said: “I haven’t played as welll as yesterday, hit a couple of very bad shots, but managed to hole some very long putts. Tomorrow, I’ll just go out and try to make birdies, you’ve got to make lots of birdies on this course”.

Khan, who matched Luna's 66, said: “I birdied the 5th with nine iron, holing a nice putt from eight feet and that settlled me down, played really nice the back nine. This is my first time leading into the last round on a European Tour event - let’s see what happens tomorrow."

Hansen, who posted a 65, said: “I birdied the first hole but then made a very long stretch on the front nine with no birdies untill the eagle on the eighth, and I relaxed a bit after that, it was much easier to concentrate, I had plenty of birdie chances.

"I think patience was the key today. I putted well. I haven’t been leading before the last round this year, tomorrow, it will all be down to the last holes."

Kenneth Ferrie, who finished strongly with eagle three at both the 13th and 18th for his 65, said: “It was a nice way to finish with an eagle. At the start of the week I thought this wouldn’t be a good golf course for me but I was wrong. It is playing pretty easy, but it’s the same for every player”.

Defending champion Sergio García, looking to become the first player since Max Faulker 50 years ago to win the title two years in succession, made a move up the leaderboard with 66 for a total of 14 under par 202.

“I started playing well after the fourth hole, hitting it very close and giving me a lot of birdie chances," he said.

"I have been improving each day and that is the main thing, I am working very hard on the new swing and I know it will take a bit of time. I may still have two or three lose shots per round but I am feeling better every week."

The close nature of the tournament was summed up by the fact that, going into the final 18 holes, 43 players lie within six shots of the lead.

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