Saturday, 19 August 2006

Alejandro Canizares moved into the lead at the Imperial Collection Russian Open after an excellent third round of five under par 67 took him to 16 under par 200 for the tournament, one stroke clear of his compatriot Carlos Rodiles and Scotland’s David Drysdale at Le Meridien Moscow Country Club.

Canizres put together six birdies and a single bogey during his third round, but his most significant score of the day was his par five on the 17th, which was the result of some serious good fortune followed by a miraculous up and down.

The 23 year old drove his ball into the water from the tee, took his penalty drop and the thinned his three wood approach through the green. His ball was destined to find more water but for a drainage stank that halted its progress just in time to stop it going into the greenside water hazard.

From there Canizares received a free drop and then produced a stunning chip and putt to save par.

That allowed him to maintain his one shot lead over Drysdale and Rodiles, and he is hoping that he can go on to complete a maiden European Tour victory in just his third appearance on The International Schedule.

“I got very lucky on 17 – I could have easily taken a seven or eight but instead I made the par five,” he said. “But you need to have luck if you are going to win and I got my fair share of that today – hopefully it can be the same again tomorrow.

“I have had a great week so far. The thing for me this week is that everything is free for me. By that I mean that I am not expected to do this well because I am so new to this, so I am trying to remember that when I am playing because it means that I don’t feel any pressure.”

Canizares, who finished seventh at the KLM Open last week, recently completed a golf Scholarship in America at Arizona State – the same University that produced Ryder Cup stars Paul Casey and Phil Mickleson.

He also counts on another Ryder Cup player for regular advice – his father José Maria, who represented Europe in four Ryder Cups.

“I usually speak to him after my rounds but this week has been different because I have had a lot of trouble with my phone so I haven’t been able to talk to him as much I would like. I’ll be trying to speak to him as much as I can before tomorrow though.

“He gives me a lot of good advice. This week he has been telling me the same things as I told you, to not play with any pressure and keep my mind free of any thoughts like that.”

Drysdale, who carded a 69 to join Rodiles in second place on 15 under par, is trying to free his mind of lethargy and tiredness, having played 14 events in the last 15 weeks. The Scot is hoping that one more good score in the final round can secure his first Tour win.

“I am so tired it’s a joke,” said the Scot. “I have been feeling like this for weeks and I just feel that I need a week off. I have played 14 out of 15 weeks and it is taking its toll on me.

“I just hope that I can put one more good round together, that’s the only way that I can look at it. I have been playing both good and bad this week, but still managed to get some good scores on the board so I hope that it’s good for the final round.”

Rodiles, meanwhile, is delighted to be back in contention on The European Tour, having rediscovered his hunger for the game after a difficult 18 months off the golf course.

“I have started to feel the pressure again which is good,” said the Spaniard after signing for a 69.

“Last year I really didn’t care and the attitude was bad so it’s nice to feel that. It’s not always enjoyable to feel the pressure but it means that you are competing and that you have a chance to win. My spirits are high so I just want to play tomorrow because I am hungry to win.”

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