Friday, 19 March 2010
Moravia Silesia Open Golf  - Round Three  (Getty Images)
Moravia Silesia Open Golf - Round Three (Getty Images)

England's Sam Little followed his best European Tour finish with his lowest round at the KLM Open.

The 33 year old, joint runner-up in the Czech Republic three weeks ago, moved into contention in The Netherlands with a course record-equalling 63.

From joint 30th and five shots behind leaders Darren Clarke and Peter Hedblom overnight, Little charged into a share of second place on 10 under par.

Defending champion Clarke and Hedblom were still on the front nine at that point, however, and it was the Swede who was out in front at 11 under following a birdie on the first and then 15 foot eagle putt from the fringe of the second green.

Little has made eight trips to The European Tour Qualifying School in his career, but improved nearly 100 places to 92nd on The Race to Dubai earlier this month.

"It's helped my confidence massively," he said - and it showed even when he went off on holiday to Finland with his wife and three children following his second place finish.

"Maria is Finnish. She arranged for me to play with a couple of her friends the day after we got there and I had nine birdies.

"I'm not playing any different, but I'm starting to hole a few more putts."

After three birdies in his first four holes in the third round he hit a five iron to eight feet for an eagle at the long 12th and then had a hat-trick of birdies from the 14th.

One more birdie would have broken the Kennemer record set by compatriot Marcus Higley and equalled by Spaniard Alejandro Cañizares on Friday.

He gave himself chances from ten and 20 feet, but left both of them short. "Pathetic really," he commented.

Clarke, trying to become the first player to retain the title since American Bob Byman in 1978, matched playing partner Hedblom's opening birdie.

He could only par the long second and then bogeyed two holes later, but his birdie on the next was the first of three in a row and that brought them back level on 11 under along with Italian Alessandro Tadini.

Little and Australian Terry Pilkadaris - in Melbourne on Tuesday morning when he learnt there was a place for him in the event - were one behind.

Scot Paul Lawrie and Ireland's Peter Lawrie both grabbed early birdies to share top spot, but then slipped back to nine under and seven under respectively.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T1DYSON, SimonENG18-15
T1LAWRIE, PeterIRL18-15
T1HEDBLOM, PeterSWE18-15
4MCGRANE, DamienIRL18-14
T5CLARKE, DarrenNIR18-13
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