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Friday, 19 March 2010

James Kingston has played himself into contention for his second title on The European Tour this season after firing a superb final round of 66 at The Barclays Scottish Open.

The 42 year old, who won the South African Airways Open in his homeland last December, came into the fourth day in a tie for 13th on six under par, but surged to the upper reaches of the leaderboard on 11 under par after shooting six birdies and just one bogey.

Whether he is in the frame at the close remains to be seen as Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell is currently 13 under par towards the end of his round with Australia’s Richard Green and England’s Simon Khan two shots further back.

What is in no doubt, however, is the quality of his round. Kingston immediately picked up a stroke at Loch Lomond Golf Club’s first hole and added birdies at the third and ninth to go out in 33. Further birdies followed at the tenth, 15th and 17th, but a bogey four on the 11th could ultimately prove costly. 

He said: “That’s probably as close to flawless golf as I have played. It felt like I hit almost every fairway.

“I really could not do much more. I had a great weekend to go from just making the cut to being in contention.”

Elsewhere, Stephen Gallacher produced a stunning round of 64 to surge into upper reaches of the leaderboard.

The Scot, whose previous three rounds of 72-68-72 had left him at one under par and tied for 44th going into the final day, threw the form book into the Arn Burn by shooting the joint lowest round of the week to take a temporary share of sixth place on eight under par.

His run, which included no bogeys, started with him picking up shots on the third, sixth and seventh, before a run of three birdies from the 12th had him within striking distance of the top five finish which could qualify him for The Open Championship.

A seventh birdie at the 18th brought him into a tie for sixth place, though that is liable to change with the leaders barely into their rounds.

He was joined by Robert Dinwiddie, who also finished at eight under par after a 69, while Francesco Molinari was the third player on 276 overall having shot a final round score of 67.

Spain’s Alvaro Quiros was equally impressive in his final round, claiming birdies on the first, sixth and eighth before picking up further strokes on the 13th, 14th, 16th and last to take a 64, finishing on seven under par.

World Number Two Phil Mickelson shot a closing 73 to finish on two under par, while Ernie Els finished on seven under par after a 69.

Mickelson remained upbeat. He said: "I had a great week this week even though I didn't play the way I wanted to. I had a lot of fun.  I got acclimated to the time and I had three good days at Birkdale before this tournament started.

“This gives me an opportunity to look at some of the strengths that I had this week as well as the weaknesses, which were mostly in my short game. I can work on them in the next three days and see if I can get ready and put it all together for The Open Championship next week.”

Els added: “I thought my last nine yesterday I played really well and played really well all day today from tee to green, but the putts dried up. I missed a lot of putts over the weekend, but I feel that it's been okay. 

“I had three weeks off before this week started, so I guess, you know, I got all the rust off the swing and off the game for next week.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1MCDOWELL, GraemeNIR18-13
2KINGSTON, JamesRSA18-11
T3JIMÉNEZ, Miguel AngelESP18-10
T3GREEN, RichardAUS18-10
5KHAN, SimonENG18-9
T6DINWIDDIE, RobertENG18-8
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