Uihlein seizes the initiative

8/31/2013 5:35:00 PM
Peter Uihlein  (Getty Images)
Peter Uihlein (Getty Images)

America’s Peter Uihlein assumed control of the ISPS Handa Wales Open after an enthralling third round at The Celtic Manor Resort.

Uihlein, who won the Madeira Islands Open earlier this year, caught fire around the turn and overcome some late sloppiness to end with a commanding lead.

Having produced two birdies and as many bogeys over the first eight holes, he moved into the lead via an eagle at nine following a stunning long iron to nine feet.

Not content, he birdied the next by holing a 50-footer before picking up a further gain at 14 following an excellent approach.

Such consistency was not easy to come by at the end of his round.

Having delivered the goods for par from 25 feet with the putter having found the hazard on 16, he dropped a shot at the next.

An errant tee shot on the 18th threatened further damage, but Uihlein was rewarded for targeting the green with his second; following a fine third from the sand, ended with a birdie.

The upshot was Uihlein ending seven under par, three shots ahead of nearest challengers Thomas Levet and Grégory Bourdy.

“I was just solid today and was able to plot my way around,” he said. “I am excited (for tomorrow) and looking forward to it.

“I feel like I’ve given myself a few opportunities this year and hopefully I can stick to my gameplan.”

Levet produced a fine 67 to move into contention, his effort all the more crucial given he started on level par, while fellow Frenchman Bourdy’s solid 70 gave him a great chance.

The former struck seven birdies to overshadow three pars and set a clubhouse target that would ultimately only be beaten by Uihlein.

“I played very solidly today,” said Levet. “Even when I bogeyed, I was quite unlucky. It was a very good round.

“I have played pretty good this year. There are some weeks I have played OK and nothing has happened.

“When things happen on the greens and you get lucky bounces, suddenly you’re back at the top of leaderboards.”

The consistent Bourdy threatened to do likewise, yet found the water at 13 to eventually double bogey.

He recovered well, though, to pick up a shot on 16 and ultimately end right in the mix heading into the final day.

"I am quite happy after the end because I had to fight to get pars on 17 and 18," he said. "Peter is playing very well and it is going to be a great day tomorrow."

A shot further back were Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Joost Luiten and Peter Hedblom.

The latter produced the day’s outstanding round, birdying one, six, nine, 13, 14 and 17, his sole dropped shot coming at the 16th.