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Saturday, 05 June 2010
Marcel Siem  (Getty Images)
Marcel Siem (Getty Images)

A day of some spectacular scoring in The Celtic Manor Wales Open - so different to the second round - ended with German Marcel Siem on track to take the title.

The World Number 294 had a bogey-free 66 to reach 11 under par, and revealed he calmed himself by singing as he played, and thinking about his two dogs.

"It's called, I don't know - 'I like, I like' or something like that," Siem said when asked what he was singing. "I think it might be by Beyonce but I'm not sure. I'm not that much into stuff like that - I just like the song.

"My two little dogs, my Maltese. I just bought a baby Maltese last year, Gustav and Piña is seven years old - it's Laura's dog, she brought it into the relationship. And Gustav is a really, really cool dog. You're going to see him in Munich - I'm going to bring him there. "

Siem has developed a reputation as something of a hot head when things go badly, but believes he has changed since breaking a club in front of some children during a tournament in Cologne.

"It scared them actually. I nearly started crying because I felt so bad and I won't ever do that again," he said.

Siem, a pony-tailed 29 year old who has never played a Major and whose only previous European Tour victory came six years ago, leads by three from Dane Thomas Björn and Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño.

But it was the trio one stroke further back who turned on the most style.

Scotland's Stephen Gallacher set the ball rolling, smashing the course record by two with an eight under par 63 that moved him from 35th to fourth with 18 holes to go.

Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell joined him on seven under with a 64 and then England's Simon Dyson, seventh in the race for Ryder Cup places, shot 65 to be on the same mark.

Pacesetter Siem, whose greatest claim to fame was winning the World Cup with Bernhard Langer in 2006, did not put a foot wrong.

He birdied the second, fifth, 11th, 14th and 15th to close in on a first prize of €350,940.

Fernandez-Castaño, without a win since the 2008 British Masters, put his improved display down to changes to his putting - an area of his game that has let him down in recent weeks.

"I have been putting nicely over the last couple of days to be honest and today it was okay," he said after seven birdies. "I am quite confident since I got rid of the belly putter, I have been putting a little better even though I know I am moving over the ball and my technique is terrible but the ball is going into the hole and that is all that I am interested in."

Gallacher was seven behind at the start of the day, but the nephew of former Ryder Cup Captain Bernard followed six birdies with a brilliant closing eagle, hitting a 242 yard rescue club to within three feet of the flag.

This time last year the 35 year old was fighting the viral infection sarcoidosis and even had a biopsy to test for cancer.

Steroid treatment brought a cure, but he confesses he has felt "absolutely shattered" this week.

"I've been knackered, but I've just got a wee bit of belief in myself," he said.

The former Dunhill Links champion returned to The European Tour Qualifying School last November, but has no such worries this season after finishing fourth at the BMW PGA Championship two weeks ago.

"Wentworth was big - that took the pressure off the card for next year and meant I could enjoy it more."

“There's no point not enjoying being in that situation tomorrow, but what the golf is going to be like, you never know,” said the two-time Ryder Cup star. “I'm going to go and try to prepare myself for it and try and do as well as I can.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1MCDOWELL, GraemeNIR18-15
2DAVIES, RhysWAL18-12
3DONALD, LukeENG18-10
T4ROCK, RobertENG18-9
T4MOLINARI, EdoardoITA18-9
T4GALLACHER, StephenSCO18-9
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