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

France's Thomas Levet has a two stroke lead going into the final round of the Open de España in Girona.

But if he fails to lift the title, 35 year old European Tour rookie Stuart Davis could be the man to take advantage.

While Levet stayed out in front with a one under par 71 to lie 14 under, Englishman Davis improved from sixth to second with a superb 67 which included four birdies in the last seven holes in windy conditions.

Among the players he overtook was Dubliner Peter Lawrie, trying to become the first man to make a successful defence of the trophy since Max Faulkner in 1953.

Lawrie bogeyed the last for a 71 and 11 under total, but needs only to think back 12 months to believe he can still do it. He came from five adrift to beat Spaniard Ignacio Garrido in a play-off in Seville.

Levet was four clear at one point but bogeyed the short 16th as Davis made his charge.

The 40 year old from Paris, runner-up to Ernie Els in The 2002 Open Championship and part of Europe's winning Ryder Cup team in Detroit two years later, had been two ahead of Dane Søren Hansen at halfway.

Hansen shot 76 after running up a triple bogey seven on the ninth and Levet said: "We had a rough day. Every time I got it going I made a stupid mistake like three putting.

"I could have gone two or three shots more ahead, but some guys went way over par so I am pretty happy.

"Everything is to be done tomorrow and I know I can play better. I will play aggressive the first nine holes, then will look at the leaderboards to see the situation.

“Somebody could come from behind with 8 or 9 under and win the tournament. I know it is going to be difficult but I will try my best, I will try to win.”
 
An industrial chemist in Derby for seven years after he left university, Davis reckons he might never have turned professional if his company had not been taken over.

"I'm one of the oldest rookies out here," said the man who made eight trips to the Tour Qualifying School and failed every time before coming through last season’s Challenge Tour.

Most harrowing of all was two years ago when he needed a par on the 108th and final hole to earn a card and made a triple bogey seven.

Davis switched to the Challenge Tour instead and grabbed the 20th and last place by little more than €200.

"It feels quite strange when people refer to me as a rookie," he added. "I feel anything but.

"I don't want to think about winning. It would mean the world to me."

Lawrie commented: "It was a bit of a struggle. The pin placings were very tough and my putter let me down a few times, but 71 is not bad.

"I am in a good position and it would be wonderful to win again. Any tournament anywhere is more than rewarding."

Welshman Stephen Dodd and Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti are in joint fourth place on nine under.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LEVET, ThomasFRA18-18
2ZANOTTI, FabrizioPAR18-16
T3LAWRIE, PeterIRL18-14
T3BJÖRN, ThomasDEN18-14
5SCHWARTZEL, CharlRSA18-10
T6SIEM, MarcelGER18-9
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