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Friday, 19 March 2010
KLM Open - Round Three  (Getty Images)
KLM Open - Round Three (Getty Images)

Darren Clarke is nine holes away from victory at The KLM Open after recovering from a shaky start to go out in 34.

It leaves him 14 under par and four clear of Henrik Stenson, Lee Slattery and Paul McGinley, but for a while Stenson looked set to crash the party.

The World Number Six, resuming three shots adrift of the 12 under par lead, charged to 12 under with three birdies in his first three holes, while Clarke fell to 11 under with a bogey at the second after he pitched over the green.

The Northern Irishman's response was superb. He hit his approaches to six feet at the fourth and fifth and birdied them both to be one ahead again on 13 under.

More turns lay ahead, however. First Stenson birdied the sixth to go level, but when Clarke picked up a stroke at the eighth and the Swede dropped a shot it sent Clarke two clear in his bids to win the event and receive a Ryder Cup Captain’s pick.

If Stenson loses, then the ninth hole could be the reason. Whereas Clarke took par, Hanson shot a double bogey six and fell back.

Slattery has had no such bad luck. He bogeyed the first to go three under, but has since responded in sensational fashion by first taking an eagle at the second and then shooting five birdies to go ten under through 15.

McGinley resumed at six under and has since shot four birdies and no bogeys to take a share of second, while Ross McGowan is fifth on eight under with three to play.

Gary Orr is the clubhouse leader on seven under after a closing 67.

Elsewhere, Thongchai Jaidee became the third player on The European Tour this season to shoot an albatross. Jaidee holed his 190 yard six iron approach to the par-five 12th en route to finishing five under par.

France's Raphael Jacquelin played his first 12 holes in a staggering eight under par, but bogeys on the 16th and 18th meant he had to settle for a 64 and four under total.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1CLARKE, DarrenNIR18-16
2MCGINLEY, PaulIRL18-12
3STENSON, HenrikSWE18-11
T4WARREN, MarcSCO18-9
T4SLATTERY, LeeENG18-9
T6HANSEN, SorenDEN18-8
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