Friday, 19 March 2010

Former champion Mikael Lundberg will go into the fourth round of the Inteco Russian Open Golf Championship with a one shot advantage at the top of the leaderboard after shooting a solid 68.

The Swede, who led on 13 under par alongside compatriot Jarmo Sandelin at the start of the day, was seemingly struggling when he took a bogey five at the first, but he recovered in style to improve to 17 under par.

His resurgence began with a birdie at the second, before extra strokes were collected at the third and fifth.

A bogey followed at the seventh, but a birdie on the 11th and an eagle three on the 15th kept him a stroke ahead of Jamie Moul, who shot a stunning 64.

Having shot 67-64-68 in the first three days, Lundberg, a winner here in 2005, admitted he was disappointed with his third round. He said: “The first round I played really well, yesterday not that well but made a great score and then today I played not as good at all but with a few good shots and I managed to get it to four under - I don’t know how.

“I am just going to go out there and see if I can put a decent number on the board. Hopefully that will be enough. There have been low scores every day here and if someone who is just a couple of shots behind me goes out tomorrow and shoots eight under then there is nothing I can do about that. I just have to look after myself and hope it’s good enough.”

Moul picked up five strokes on the front nine with birdies at the second, fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth, before collecting a hat-trick from the 16th.

The 23 year old turned professional after the Walker Cup last year and was pleased to see his potential rewarded with a good round.

He said: “It’s been a bit slow to be honest. I have been starting to play well over the last couple of months. The scores haven’t really reflected that so it’s nice to see them going into the red for once. I am quite happy with my game now.”

He attributed much of his score to his game on and around the greens. He added: “My short game got me round today. I missed a few shots but the putter got me out of trouble a few times and I made a few nice birdies. And then I just played to my strengths coming in – I didn’t take any risks, just kept it in play and thankfully a few putts did drop.”

Benn Barham is two shots further back at 14 under par, tied with Michiel Bothma of South Africa. 

Barham, vying for his first title on The European Tour, came into the third round on seven under par and down in a tie for 14th place, but quickly turned the tables with a 65.

He fired an eagle three on the second before shooting birdies at the third, sixth and eighth to reach the turn in 31.

Further strokes were collected at the 13th and 15th to complete a bogey-free round for the Englishman.

Afterwards he admitted he had taken inspiration from watching The Open Championship on television. He said: “When you are watching it there are guys that you compete against week-in week-out that are doing well in the tournament and you kind of feel that it should be you instead of them, so it does give you a kick up the backside.

“I have been playing solidly all week and it’s nice to get up there on the leaderboard. I had a nice week off last week, played some social golf and caught up with some sponsors. It was nice to have a week off and I watched a lot of The Open on TV which kind of got me up for this week.”

Bothma also enjoyed a good round, shooting a 66 which included eight birdies and two bogeys.

He said: “I played well today – the putting has been keeping me going. I am making the putts I really need to make.

“I am not hitting the ball the best I have ever hit it but I am making the outs when I  have been hitting it close. I am driving the ball well – I just had one poor drive today on 17 which led to a bogey but I was very happy to finish with a birdie on the last because that is a tough finishing hole.”

A shot further back in a tie for third is Darren Fichardt, Sandelin and Robert Rock.

Fichardt equalled the lowest score for the front nine when he went out in 30 – Lloyd Saltman managed the same score en route to a 66 earlier in the day – but only managed par on the back nine.

Danny Willett is 12 under par, while Saltman is tied on 11 under with three players.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LUNDBERG, MikaelSWE18-21
2LARA, José ManuelESP18-19
3BARHAM, BennENG18-18
4LARSEN, Jan-AreNOR18-17
5DRYSDALE, DavidSCO18-16
T6MOUL, JamieENG18-15
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