Big finish puts Fitzpatrick on top in Rome

Matthew Fitzpatrick produced a blistering finish to maintain his one shot advantage heading into the final round of the Italian Open.

Matthew Fitzpatrick

The Englishman arrived at Olgiata Golf Club with a narrow 36 hole lead but looked in danger of being left behind as rookies Kurt Kitayama and Robert MacIntyre surged up the leaderboard.

But the five time European Tour winner birdied four of his last six holes in a 68 to get to 13 under and put himself in pole position for a maiden Rolex Series victory.

American Kitayama was his nearest challenger after a 65, one clear of Scot Robert MacIntyre who carded a 64.

Matt Wallace and Bernd Wiesbger have ten European Tour wins between them and they were at ten under, one shot ahead of four time winner Søren Kjeldsen.

"To put myself one in front gives me a little bit of help," he said. "I'm just looking forward and I'm ready to go already.

"Coming down the hill on the 12th it didn't feel like I should be one over. I didn't hit as many good shots as I would have liked around the turn so that cost me a little bit and put me back.

"To finish the way I did was great."

MacIntyre also has three runner up finishes this season since coming through the European Challenge Tour, while Kitayama has won twice since progressing through all three stages of the Qualifying School.

The duo both sit in the top 30 on the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex, and Sunday could go a long way to deciding who gets crowned the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year.

Fitzpatrick put his approach to the first inside ten feet and rolled home for a birdie but three putted the second to slip back to ten under.

A run of seven pars would be followed by a bogey on the tenth and the 25-year-old was in danger of being left behind by the charging Kitayama and MacIntyre

Kitayama birdied the ninth to go with gains on the fourth and sixth - after a stunning approach - to turn in 32 and a very long left to righter on the tenth moved him into double figures and a share of the lead.

An eight foot putt on the 11th edged the 26-year-old ahead on his own but MacIntyre was making a big move.

He had turned in 33 after birdies on the first and eighth and then got from the rough to tap-in range at the tenth and holed from inside ten feet on the 12th and 14th.

A two putt birdie on the par five 15th had him within one and he also took advantage of the 17th to set the clubhouse target, but Kitayama followed suit on the penultimate hole to edge ahead.

Fitzpatrick's late charge started with an approach to five feet at the 13th and he made a birdie from similar range on the 15th after laying up.

A 25 footer on the 16th had him back at the top of the leaderboard and he got down in two from the fringe at the 17th to lead alone.

Austrian Wiesberger recovered from two early bogeys with four birdies in a row from the 12th in a 67, a score matched by England's Wallace with six birdies and two bogeys.

Dane Kjeldsen made five consecutive birdies from the third in a 66 to sit a shot ahead of South Korea's Jeunghun Wang and English pair Andrew Johnston and Aaron Rai.

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