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Saturday, 11 June 2011
Niclas Fasth   (Getty Images)
Niclas Fasth (Getty Images)

Swede Niclas Fasth returned to form in style at the BMW Italian Open presented by CartaSi as he raced into a share of the lead during the third round.

Without a top ten finish this season, and having finished outside the top 100 on The Race to Dubai for the first time in a decade last year, the 39 year old carded four birdies and an eagle in his first ten holes at Royal Park I Roveri.

At six under par with eight to play, the former Ryder Cup star was 12 under for the week and level with halfway leader Robert Rock, who was yet to tee off.

England’s David Dixon was also making a significant move up the leaderboard – at six under with one to play he was into a share of third on 11 under par.

Argentina’s Clodomiro Carranza and Italian Andrea Pavan signed for rounds of 66 to set the clubhouse target at ten under par.

Fasth eagle came at the par five eighth and he followed it with five consecutive birdies.

But the six-time European Tour winner dropped a shot at the 15th and parred his way in for a 64 that left him 14 under.

Dutchman Joost Luiten birdied two of his first six holes to be alone in second on 13 under, with Rock amongst six players on 12 under.

Rock recorded consecutive gains approaching the turn to join Fasth out in front, and when home favourite Francesco Molinari added a birdie at the tenth to his front nine 33 The Ryder Cup star was also 14 under.

Level with Luiten on 13 under were his compatriot Floris De Vries and English trio Chris Wood, Gary Boyd and Lee Slattery as the leaderboard became increasingly congested.

“That’s my lowest round of the year, which is nice,” said Fasth, whose clubhouse target was matched by Pablo Larrazabal when the Spaniard eagled the last.

“I’ve been struggling a bit and it’s good to string a good round together. First and foremost I am in contention for tomorrow but you need to get some scores under your belt and get the confidence up.

“My big moment came in the middle of the round. I got on a nice roll and it was great to be eight under for eight holes from the sixth. I had been struggling with the putter but now I have a chance.”

There were 8,000 fans in attendance, and they were witnessing great shots as well as great rounds.

England’s Steve Webster had an albatross at the 11th, his ive wood approach landing 15 feet from the hole and rolling in.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1ROCK, RobertENG18-21
T2OLESEN, ThorbjørnDEN18-20
T2BOYD, GaryENG18-20
4WHITEFORD, PeterSCO18-19
5LUITEN, JoostNED18-18
T6JONZON, MichaelSWE18-17
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