Ricardo Santos (Getty Images)
Portugal’s Ricardo Santos fired four birdies in a row to charge into contention at the Volvo China Open.
The 29 year old Challenge Tour graduate, five behind halfway leaders Gary Boyd and Jean-Baptiste Gonnet overnight, birdied the first on his return to Binhai Lake Golf Club.
He then birdied the fifth, sixth, and seventh, and although Santos could not match his second round hole-in-one at the 246 yard eight, he did role in a six foot birdie putt to join Boyd and Gonnet on 11 under par.
Santos was not in a share of the lead for long, however, as 25 year old Englishman Boyd rolled in a 15 foot birdie putt at the first to snatch a slender advantage on 12 under par.
Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez had already set a decent clubhouse target of ten under par, the four-time European Tour winner holing a six foot birdie putt at the last for a sparkling 65.
Boyd’s lead was short lived – he duffed his chip at the par five second and three-putted for bogey, allowing Gonnet to lead after making a birdie four.
The Frenchman’s advantage was temporary as well, however. Both he and Boyd three-putted from the edge of the green at the third for matching bogeys.
Sweden’s Fredrik Andersson-Hed was the man to take advantage – he birdied the 18th from five feet for a sensational round of 64, leaving the former Italian Open champion 12 under par in the clubhouse.
Gonnet and South African Branden Grace were one behind after Santos bogeyed the ninth to turn in 32, while defending champion Nicolas Colsaerts and Ryder Cup star Francesco Molinari were looking ominous at ten under par.
Italy’s Molinari was producing some metronomic iron shots as he birdied the sixth and seventh from five feet, while Belgian Colsaerts rolled in a ten footer for birdie at the fourth.