Wiesberger edges ahead in Vilamoura

10/13/2012 5:52:03 PM
Bernd Wiesberger   (Getty Images)
Bernd Wiesberger (Getty Images)

Six birdies in seven holes around the turn helped Bernd Wiesberger claim a one shot lead after the third round of the Portugal Masters at Oceânico Victoria Golf Course.

The Austrian, already a two-time winner on The European Tour this season, had all his birdies between the eighth and 14th holes in a bogey-free round of 65.

That took the 27 year old to 13 under par and one ahead of overnight leader Ross Fisher, who saw a five foot par putt lip out on the last.

“After seven holes I was not thinking about a 65,” admitted Wiesberger. “I hit some poor wedges early on, but I grinded through that and hit better shots around the turn and into the back nine.

“I played beautifully on the back nine, and I could’ve gone even lower.”

Even when Fisher, without a win since his Ryder Cup debut two years ago, notched four birdies in five holes around the turn, Wiesberger matched his playing partner all to remain one shot behind.

He then drew level with an 18 foot putt on the 14th hole – his sixth birdie in seven holes – and moved in front for the first time when Fisher failed to get up and down, having missed the final green.

Fisher, playing on with a strained ligament in his left foot suffered when he slipped coming off the first tee in his second round, said after his 69: “It’s challenging, but it was a lot easier than yesterday.

“It was heavily bandaged, and I tried to take the weight off it as much as I could. It’s quite bruised, but the swelling is not as bad as I thought it might be.

“I'm disappointed to drop a shot on the last. I tried to keep my neck out in front, but there’s still a lot of golf to play.”

In joint third place on nine under par are Irishman Shane Lowry, England’s Richard Finch and, after a welcome return to form, New Zealander Michael Campbell.

The 2005 US Open Champion has endured some tough times since that memorable week at Pinehurst, and is down in 607th place in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Campbell has not had a top ten finish on The European Tour since 2008, and two seasons ago made only one cut in 19 starts.

“It’s seven years since my last win and I was surprised how calm I was out there, but I’ve won enough around the world to know what to do, and I’m pretty excited about tomorrow,” he said.

“Over the last three or four years, I’ve put too much pressure on myself to perform. I’ve gone back to basics, and it’s fun once again.”

Campbell and playing partner Lowry were both five under par for the day, before bogeying the last for rounds of 67, while Finch – like Lowry, a former Irish Open winner – did not drop a shot in his 66.

Miguel Angel Jiménez, at 48 trying to become the oldest winner in European Tour history, finished with a 30-foot birdie putt for a round of 68, and is in joint sixth place with England’s Mark Foster.

Padraig Harrington also birdied the tough closing hole, but that was for a round of 71 as he slipped from fourth to 12th place.