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Saturday, 24 November 2018
Thomas Pieters  (Getty Images)
Thomas Pieters (Getty Images)

Belgium produced a stunning run of scoring just before the turn to complete the front nine in 31 shots and open up a two-shot lead on day three of the ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf.

Thomas Detry and Thomas Pieters entered the second fourballs session in a share of the lead alongside South Korea at The Metropolitan Golf Club but soon found themselves behind as hosts Australia made a flying start.

But as Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith moved onto the tougher back nine, the Belgians went birdie-birdie-eagle from the seventh to get to 15 under.

Andrea Pavan and Renato Paratore of Italy turned in 31 to get to 13 under, a shot clear of the Australian pair and South Koreans Byeong-hun An and Si Woo Kim.

Leishman birdied the second from 20 feet and then made an eagle at the fourth from ten feet before Smith got it on the act from 15 feet at the fifth and the hosts were at the top of the leaderboard.

A wonderful Smith up-and-down from the sand on the seventh handed them the solo lead but both Belgium and South Korea took advantage of the par-five fourth to make it a three-way tie.

Italy birdied the first before Paratore holed a long putt on the fourth and they were into double-figures.

An sent his tee-shot a long way right on the fifth and Kim could not get him out of trouble as they made a first bogey of the day, and they were soon two back as Smith and Leishman both got on the ninth in two to pick up a shot and turn in 30.

Kim produced an excellent response to South Korea's disappointment as he hit a wonderful tee-shot into the par-three sixth and moved them back to 11 under.

All the par fives were proving gettable in the conditions and Paratore made a gain on the seventh to edge closer to the lead.

An excellent tee-shot into the par-three eighth from Paratore put the Italians in a share of the lead and Belgium also got to 12 under back on the seventh as Pieters got on the green in two.

The 2016 Ryder Cup star was taking a leaf out of Paratore's book and he holed an uphill putt on the eighth to put Belgium in front but Paratore made it three birdies in a row ahead on the ninth to join them.

Pieters had done a lot of the heavy lifting thus far for Belgium but Detry weighed in in emphatic style on the ninth, holing a long putt for eagle to vault his team two ahead.

India made a hat-trick of birdies from the seventh to get to 11 under, a shot clear of defending champions Denmark, England, Scotland, Sweden and Mexico.

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