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Friday, 19 March 2010
Rising to the challenge of playing in front of his home fans, Peter Hanson takes a two stroke lead into the final round of the SAS Masters in Stockholm.

The Swede, who came into the weekend on eight under par, maintained his good form with three birdies in a solid round of 68.

But a day that promised so much for English pair Nick Dougherty and Chris Wood did not turn out as well as they hoped.

Ryder Cup hopeful Dougherty shared the halfway pace with Hanson, but a level par 70 dropped him into a five-way share for second with Scot Gary Orr, Dane Soren Kjeldsen and two more Swedish players in Daniel Chopra and Pelle Edberg.

Wood, making his professional debut four weeks after his fabulous fifth place in The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, holed his pitch to the first for an eagle two and when he turned in a five under 29, he was only one off the lead.

But the back nine brought a double-bogey six on the 12th and a closing bogey for a 68 and a share of ninth on five under.

"I can't be disappointed, given how I felt," said the 20 year old from England

"I had some food poisoning yesterday, was sick in the night and didn't sleep much.

"I feel all right now, but I've not eaten anything and didn't feel comfortable with my swing."

Hanson, who opened with two rounds of 66, has won only one of 174 European Tour events in his career - but at 24th in the Ryder Cup standings, he cannot quite be ruled out of the equation yet.

"I think I've put myself a little bit too far back, but if I win tomorrow I'll change my mind about taking next week off," said the 30 year old, whose only victory was the 2005 Spanish Open.

"I want to give myself every chance.

"Of course you can feel pressure playing at home, but I think it's more inspirational."

He bogeyed the third - Dougherty birdied it to go nine under - but came back with birdies on the fifth and seventh.

Stepping onto the 16th tee Dougherty and Hanson were neck-and-neck, but whereas Hanson improved to ten under with a birdie Dougherty missed the green and then failed to sink his par putt from three feet.

Dougherty, who has two career wins on The European Tour and is15th in the Ryder Cup race, said: "Both my wins have come from the front, but I will take where I am right now.

"It's just lovely to be in contention going into the final round."

Irrespective, he was not entirely satisfied with his round.

"Not a lot went for me out there," he added.

"I thought I played better than level par, but missed everything in the 15 feet range - and you need to make a few of those to shoot a good score.

"The wind was in the opposite direction, though, and it took a little bit of adapting to."

Orr is chasing his first win since 2000. "I've not been playing too badly, but I've just not been putting it altogether," he commented after a 67 including a hat-trick of birdies form the third.

"I worked hard on my short game while on holiday in the south of France last year, getting up early before it got too hot."

Kjeldsen is 16th on the Ryder Cup points table and, like Dougherty, would be right on the fringe of the top ten if he triumphs.

German Martin Kaymer, currently 11th, needs a top-12 finish to move back into an automatic qualification spot with only two more tournaments to come and after a 68 is joint 20th on three under.

Chopra won on the US PGA Tour in January and could yet force himself back into the picture too.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1HANSON, PeterSWE18-9
T2DOUGHERTY, NickENG18-8
T2EDBERG, PelleSWE18-8
T4BROADHURST, PaulENG18-7
T4WALKER, SamENG18-7
T4ORR, GarySCO18-7
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