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Julien Guerrier leads ahead of final round in Rome

Julien Guerrier leads ahead of final round in Rome

Julien Guerrier will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the 2023 DS Automobiles Italian Open as he goes in search of his first DP World Tour title.

The 37-year-old Frenchman started the day two shots off the lead but carded eight birdies and three bogeys in a third-round 66 to lead the way on 12 under par.

His countryman Romain Langasque was in a tie for second alongside Poland's Adrian Meronk after the Frenchman fired a flawless 62 to set a new course record at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club.

The highlight of Langasque's record-breaking round came at the par-four 16th, as he drove the green before slotting in his 21-foot putt for an eagle.

Meronk, meanwhile, picked up six birdies in his 66 on Moving Day, with his only blemish a bogey on the 15th.

Marcel Siem, Matthieu Pavon, Tapio Pulkkanen and Daniel van Tonder shared fourth place on eight under.

Guerrier bounced back from an early bogey at the second with birdies from inside six feet on the fifth and seventh to make it a five-way tie for the lead on eight under.

After dropping another shot on the eighth, Guerrier rolled in from eight feet at the ninth for a bounce-back birdie.

Two tremendous approach shots at the tenth and 11th saw Guerrier complete a birdie hat-trick, before a monster putt from around 45 feet on the 14th earned him a share of the lead.

He then found himself alone at the top after converting his six-foot birdie effort at the 15th but would give the shot straight back on the 16th.

Guerrier regained the outright lead with a closing birdie, though, as he got up and down from a greenside bunker to move to 12 under.

Guerrier said: "I started with a bogey on two and after that I stayed patient. I know with this kind of course, my coach said, 'You are going to play some good shots, so try to manage and don’t give too many shots away to the course', and I did that. 

"I tried to stay patient and to do my job on every shot, and you know, it is difficult on every hole so anything can happen.

"Of course we will speak (with friend Langasque) and I hope we are going to have a good game."

Langasque tapped in for an opening birdie after sending his approach at the first to around two feet.

The 27-year-old then kept his card clean with momentum-boosting par saves at the second and third before making back-to-back gains at the fifth and sixth.

He finished the front nine with another close-range birdie and picked up further shots on the 11th and 12th to climb to eight under.

An eight-foot birdie on the 15th earned Langasque a share of the lead on nine under before he drove the 16th green and holed his eagle putt to jump to 11 under.

Langasque gave himself another good chance at the 18th but had to settle for par there.

He said: "I did not expect nine under, I didn't expect to shoot a very low score on this course because it's quite a tough course.

"I didn't expect that score and I am very happy about it."

Ryder Cup hopeful Meronk turned in 32 after making birdies on the fourth, fifth and ninth.

Another birdie on the 11th was cancelled out by a bogey at the 15th before gains on the 16th and 18th took Meronk to 11 under.

He said: "Nothing changes for tomorrow, I think I have a good strategy on this course, just to trust my process, trust my strategy, pick my lines and just let it go.

"I feel quite good on the golf course here in Italy so I am looking forward to tomorrow."

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