Sublime Lee assumes control

07/09/2013 15:40:00
Craig Lee  (Getty Images)
Craig Lee (Getty Images)

A first sub-par round of 60 in the history of The European Tour evaded Craig Lee but the Scot still led the Omega European Masters following a stunning 61.

The Scot incredibly birdied eight times on the front nine, his streak only ended by a par on seven, to fly up the leaderboard.

He picked up a further shot at ten and, following a par at the next, looked in good shape to make history.

Lee was to pay the price for a poor tee shot on 11 and ultimately holed a ten footer to escape with bogey.

Yet he found the perfect riposte when moving back at nine under for the round following a stunning tee shot on the par three 13th.

Lee benefited from a positive second shot just short of the green to pick up another on the 14th, yet could only par in thereafter.

However, that did not detract from a stunning performance that left him two strokes ahead of Victor Dubuisson, Alejandro Cañizares and Thomas Bjørn on 16 under heading into the final round.

He said: "(It was) comfortably my best round ever. Even as an amateur or in a bounce game, I’ve never managed to get to double figures. 

"So this is my best round by far. You just try to focus on each shot you play though. When you hit it and it is executed properly and you see it flying down the pin, it is pretty special. 

"For the first 12 or 13 holes that was what was happening. It was pretty surreal to see all these good golf shots coming out in the same day. I’ve been playing quite nicely for a while so it has all come together."

Lee added: "I would like to have had a heart rate monitor on. From the first I don’t think my heart got under 100bpm. 

"There were certain crucial putts that got the heart going and I don’t think it ever slowed down. I’m still not really ready to relax."

Dubuisson made two eagles, on the seventh and 15th, and as many birdies to offset his dropped shots on the second and last in a 66.

Someone who went one better than that was Cañizares, the Spaniard catching fire on a back nine featuring an eagle and three birdies.

“I made birdie on the 10th and from there on, everything just happened the right way,” he said.

“I’m very happy to finish the way I finished although there were a couple of tough putts in the end but I still managed to save the round.”

Bjørn, meanwhile, has been a model of consistency thus far, his second bogey of the tournament thus far coming at 11.

That was offset by five birdies as Bjørn followed up successive 66s with a 67.

While Lee being unable to make history ultimately represented a disappointment for some of those in attendance, England’s Richard Finch produced a memorable moment when producing a hole in one on the par three 13th.

Finch dropped a six iron in dead weight to win an Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Co-Axial in red gold, worth CHF 16,950.