Fisher strengthens his hand

7/31/2010 2:45:07 PM
Ross Fisher  (Getty Images)
Ross Fisher (Getty Images)
Ross Fisher continued his splendid form to extend his lead in the 3 Irish Open at the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club.

The Englishman, who took a three shot lead into the third round, carded birdies on three of the first six holes today to take him to 15 under.

Italian Francesco Molinari, his playing partner, could only par the opening six holes, allowing Chris Wood, Fisher’s compatriot, to move into joint second place thanks to a stunning outward nine.

He followed up a bogey on the par four fourth with five successive birdies, catapulting him to 10 under par and within five shots of Fisher.

Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño also prospered approaching the turn, firing three straight birdies - and four in the first eight holes in total to complement a bogey on the third - to climb into a share of second spot with Wood.

Fisher’s status as leader may not be in any immediate danger, but fellow Englishman Richard Bland shot into contention with a 66 to take him to seven under.

Bland, 275th in the world, had three bogeys and an impressive eight birdies to follow rounds of 69 and 71.

Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke, who began the day six under, enjoyed a solid start to his third round with 33 on the outward nine to move into joint fourth place.

He was tied with Molinari, Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and Australian Richard Green, both of whom were two under for the day.

Seung-yol Noh was one shot further adrift on eight under thanks to a birdie on the fourth.