Sunday, 18 March 2012
Raphael Jacquelin  (Getty Images)
Raphael Jacquelin (Getty Images)

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France’s Raphaël Jacquelin stormed into the lead as the final round of the Open de Andalucía Costa del Sol began at Aloha.

The Sicilian Open champion started the day three behind overnight leader Eduardo De La Riva, but was able to catch the Spaniard before he had even teed off.

That was due to a hattrick of birdies from the fifth, the highlight a 40 putt on the fourth.

South African Open champion Hennie Otto then made it a three-way tie at the top with birdies at the second and third taking him to 12 under.

The South African was fortunate with the first of those – his approach from the rough appeared to be running straight through the green when it hit the pin and stopped dead for a tap-in.

Plenty of players were firmly in contention on a congested leaderboard, with Ireland’s Shane Lowry playing his first ten holes in five under par to join England’s Mark Foster and Simon Khan and Italian teenager Matteo Manassero in a share of fourth on 11 under.

Lowry’s sixth birdie of the day at the 11th gave the former Irish Open winner a share of the lead, but not for long as Jacquelin knocked in a three footer at the sixth for four birdies in a row.

He was one ahead of Lowry and De La Riva, but both Otto and Manassero missed par putts from inside five feet at the fourth.

Jacquelin added another birdie at the ninth to turn in a brilliant 31.

At 14 under he was one ahead of Lowry, who was enjoying a stunning weekend and looked poised to set a daunting clubhouse target, and David Lynn.

Having made the cut with only one shot to spare, the 24 year old Lowry signed for 67 on Saturday and moved to seven under for the day when he struck his approach to within five feet at the 14th.

Lynn had briefly led on Saturday, and a birdie at the first and 30 foot eagle on the par five fifth took him to within striking distance again.

De La Riva, Otto, Julien Quesne, Marcel Siem and Graeme Storm were all two off the pace.

Jacquelin hit a wild second to the 12th, and by failing to get up and down from the rough fell into a five-way tie with Quesne, De La Riva, South African Hennie Otto and 18 year old Matteo Manassero.

Lowry was not part of it after bogeying the long 16th and 17th. He was bunkered on both and three-putted the first of them.

A par on the last gave him a 67 and the joint clubhouse lead at 11 under, but although only two back he was in a tie for ninth.

It was Quesne who broke the deadlock from 12 feet on the 14th, and when he holed from the same range on the next The Challenge Tour graduate, 322nd in the Official World Golf Ranking, was two in front at 15 under.

Quesne made it three birdies in a row by two-putting from over 60 feet at the long 16th, then converted a seven foot chance on the last to equal the course record of 64.

It gave him a 17 under aggregate, but De La Riva's birdies at the 13th and 14th brought him two behind and so it was not over yet.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1QUESNE, JulienFRA18-17
2MANASSERO, MatteoITA18-15
3DE LA RIVA, EduardoESP18-14
4LYNN, DavidENG18-13
T5JACQUELIN, RaphaëlFRA18-12
T5OTTO, HennieRSA18-12
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