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Saturday, 07 June 2014
Joost Luiten   (Getty Images)
Joost Luiten (Getty Images)
Defending champion Joost Luiten will take a two shot lead over 2012 winner and local favourite Bernd Wiesberger into the final round of the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity.

And there is much more than the title at stake for both men on Sunday.

Victory for Luiten would take him significantly closer to becoming the first Dutchman to play in The Ryder Cup, while a win for 2012 champion Wiesberger would secure a debut in next week's US Open Championship at Pinehurst.

Both men carded seven birdies and one bogey to shoot third rounds of 66 at Diamond Country Club on Saturday, leaving Luiten 11 under and Wiesberger nine under, with Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti two shots further back.

"I'm happy, 66 is good," said Luiten, who is currently just outside the automatic qualifying places for Paul McGinley's European Team which will defend The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

"It could have been a bit lower as I was playing really well, especially the first 12 holes, but it's been a really good day. I've been playing consistently and hitting some good shots and making some good putts.

"All I can do is focus on this tournament now and playing here, next week is a new week. I am in a good position so I just want to finish it off tomorrow and see if we can win again here.

"I know Bernd is a good player so it will be a very good battle and there are a few more guys behind who are not out of it yet. It's going to be an interesting day."

Luiten raced to the turn in 31 with five birdies before dropping his only shot of the day on the 14th, where he three-putted from the back of the green.

The 28 year old bounced straight back with a birdie on the 15th thanks to a superb approach from a fairway bunker and holed from 35 feet for another on the 17th.

Wiesberger's only bogey was also the result of a three-putt on the 11th, the 28 year old from Vienna having covered the front nine in 32 and adding birdies on the tenth, 13th and 18th.

"I played really well today and created a lot of chances, especially on the front nine when I think I had a birdie putt on virtually every hole," said Wiesberger, who could also qualify for the US Open by finishing outright second, depending on results elsewhere.

"I holed a few longer ones but missed a few shorter ones, so it probably evened itself out overall. I also had a few looks on the back nine and managed to take a couple, although it was disappointing not to take advantage of either of the par fives. But I've made a nice move up the leaderboard, which was the main aim today.

"It's always nice to play well in front of the home fans and they were great today. It was an important putt to make (from 20 feet for birdie on the 18th) to make up some ground on Joost, and I think the crowd's reaction showed that.

"It'll be important not to get too much into match play mode tomorrow, because then other players could sneak up on us. All I can do is try my best and hope it's good enough.

"I'm not going to think about the US Open tomorrow. I'll try to get myself into position to lift the trophy, which would mean I can play next week as well, but it won't be on my mind. I'll just try and do the same thing as today. Everybody says that in my position, but I am feeling calm and good."

Much earlier in the day, England's David Horsey had stormed through the field with a course record 65, the 29 year old racing to the turn in 30 and picking up further shots on the 15th and 16th before his only bogey of the day on the 17th.

"It's been coming for a while to be honest, I've been hitting it nicely on the range and just not quite been able to take it out on the golf course," said Horsey, at five under one shot behind compatriot Adam Gee.

Asked if the fast and firm conditions suited him, Horsey added: "Absolutely. I'm one of the shorter hitters out here and it needs to be an advantage in hitting the fairways, whether you are 30 or 40 yards back or not because if the rough is thick you can't stop it, it's hard to get it close and it makes it a bit more of an even playing field."

Overnight leader Mikael Lundberg is alongside Horsey on five under after struggling to a 76.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LUNDBERG, MikaelSWE18-12
2WIESBERGER, BerndAUT18-12
3LUITEN, JoostNED18-11
4SLATTERY, LeeENG18-10
T5JIMÉNEZ, Miguel AngelESP18-8
T5ZANOTTI, FabrizioPAR18-8

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