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Saturday, 20 September 2014
Joost Luiten  (Getty Images)
Joost Luiten (Getty Images)
Joost Luiten has the chance to convert his excellent recent form into a first win of the season when he takes a two shot lead into the final round of the ISPS Handa Wales Open.

The Dutchman carded a third round of 65 at The Celtic Manor Resort to turn a one shot deficit into a two shot lead over Ireland's Shane Lowry.

Both players got off to a flying start on a day of low scoring, Luiten making birdies at the first, third and fifth and playing partner Lowry responding on the second, third and sixth.

But while Lowry could then only manage a string of 12 consecutive pars, Luiten birdied three of the last four holes to continue his superb recent run.

The 28 year old was fourth in the 71° OPEN D'ITALIA Presented by DAMIANI and finished fifth in the defence of his KLM Open title on home soil last week.

"I'm happy with a good score today,” said Luiten. “I played solid, consistent, hit a lot of greens and holed some nice putts to start with. I didn't really make a lot in the middle part, but came back strong at the end with three birdies on the last four, and I'm happy.

"You're in the last group, the greens are not as good as in the morning maybe and you just have to be patient out on the greens. They are quite soft and you have to create chances every hole and they will go in eventually and luckily it did for me at the end."

Lowry, who won the Irish Open as an amateur in 2009 and the Portugal Masters in 2012, said after his 68: "I got off to a flyer and just nothing really happened for me. I did make three good par saves, but I would have liked to make a couple more birdies and probably should have.

"I'm right where I want to be for tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it. I'm still there. If you had given me this Thursday morning before I stood on the first tee, I would have taken your hand off. I'm where I want to be and I feel like I have a chance tomorrow.

"Joost is playing lovely but I felt like I played lovely myself. Just warm up the putter tonight and see what happens tomorrow."

France's Grégory Havret carded a 66 to lie three shots off the lead on 11 under alongside former champion Thongchai Jaidee, who shot 67.

Havret, who finished runner-up to Graeme McDowell in the 2010 US Open but has not won on The European Tour since 2008, said: "I played well. Unfortunately the last three holes were not as good as the first 15, but it was definitely a good round.

"Anything red (under par) on this beautiful course is always good That's three in a row and hopefully I'll have another one tomorrow."

Of the three Ryder Cup players left in the field, Welshman Jamie Donaldson was best placed on eight under after a 68, with Lee Westwood three under after a birdie-eagle finish took him to the same score.

Thomas Björn fired a level par 71 thanks to 18 straight pars to remain two under.

 

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LUITEN, JoostNED18-14
T2FLEETWOOD, TommyENG18-13
T2LOWRY, ShaneIRL18-13
T4COLSAERTS, NicolasBEL18-12
T4DONALDSON, JamieWAL18-12
T4PEPPERELL, EddieENG18-12

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