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

Sweden's Peter Hedblom achieved the lowest 54 hole total of The European Tour season and took a two stroke lead into the final round of the KLM Open in The Netherlands.

Joint halfway leader with defending champion Darren Clarke, the 39 year old without a single top 20 finish all year added a superb six under par 64 to his two opening 66s.

That was too hot for Clarke to handle and even though a 67 was no disaster the Ulsterman dropped to third place, one behind Dubliner Peter Lawrie.

Hedblom has won two of more than 350 European Tour events in his career and after missing his last three halfway cuts took himself off to a near-deserted island in his home country to forget about the game for a while.

It seems to have done the trick. Needing to climb 40 places from his current 155th position on The Race to Dubai to keep his card he now has a first prize of €300,000 and a two year exemption in his sights.

“The start I got off to calmed me down a little bit, and after that I started to feel really good,” he said. “If I can keep playing like this, I’ll be very happy.

Hedblom paid credit to the coach who came up with a new practice putting routine for him.

"He wanted me to play tournaments against myself, so I have to hole eight putts in a row from three feet and then eight in a row from four feet.

"It took me an hour and 20 minutes at Loch Lomond, but Thursday was the first day I did all 16 in a row. If I can keep putting like this the rest of my life it will be nice."

By the time Clarke and Hedblom teed off they were part of an eight-way tie for the lead, but both birdied the first and then Hedblom sank a 15 footer for eagle from the fringe of the 570 yard second.

His only dropped shot came on the short 11th and he and Clarke were back level at that point, but he responded with three more birdies in the next five holes while Clarke had to be content with parring his way in.

Lawrie had thrown away the lead with a closing double bogey in his second round and was delighted to come back with a 65.

The mild-mannered Irishman was asked how angry he had been after that six and said: "For me, on a scale on one to ten I was an eight - without showing it."

There was no punching of walls or kicking cats - "those days are gone" - just a determination to fight his way back into contention for a second European Tour victory.

He did that with three birdies in the first four and much finished much better, holing from 15 feet for par at the 170 yard 17th and making a nine footer for birdie on the last.

“It was really important for me to get back to ten under today. Once I’d got there, the idea was to try to push on from there,” said Lawrie.

Joint fourth on ten under are England's Sam Little and Kenneth Ferrie, Welshman Jamie Donaldson and Australian Terry Pilkadaris, who was in Melbourne on Tuesday morning when he learnt there was a place for him in the event.

Little, runner-up in the Czech Republic on his last start three weeks ago, equalled the day-old course record of 63 to move from 30th to fourth.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T1DYSON, SimonENG18-15
T1LAWRIE, PeterIRL18-15
T1HEDBLOM, PeterSWE18-15
4MCGRANE, DamienIRL18-14
T5DONALDSON, JamieWAL18-13
T5CLARKE, DarrenNIR18-13
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