Day three digest: Italian Open

Everything you need to know from day three of the Italian Open.

Olgiata Golf Club

Fitzpatrick finds another gear, rookies continue to impress and a little family rivalry goes a long way on day three of the Italian Open.

Here is everything you need to know from moving day at the fifth Rolex Series event of the season.

Fitz flies back up the leaderboard

With three runner up finishes so far on the 2019 Race to Dubai, overnight leader Mathew Fitzpatrick could have been forgiven for getting a sinking feeling after a bogey on the tenth put him over par for the day. But the Englishman does not have five European Tour wins for nothing and four birdies in his final six holes put him back on top by one shot heading into Sunday. A victory will not only hand him a maiden Rolex Series triumph but also keep alive his run of having won on every season since coming through the Qualifying School in 2014.

The rookie race

The next few weeks will see the conclusion of one of the best battles for the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award in recent seasons. Scot Robert MacIntyre is the man to catch with three second place finishes since graduating from the European Challenge Tour and a bogey free 64 left him two shots off the lead after 54 holes in Rome.

But one shot better off is Kurt Kitayama after also being blemish free in a 65. The 26-year-old has two victories since coming through all three stages of the Qualifying School and would join Tiger Woods and Mark O'Meara as the only Americans to win three times in a European Tour season should he triumph on Sunday.

Close shave motivates Kjeldsen

Søren Kjeldsen used the motivation of almost being beaten by his 16-year-old son to spur him on as he matched his lowest round of the season. The Dane has been an ever-present on the European Tour with four victories since he graduated through the Challenge Tour in 1997 - six years before son Emil was born. A 66 on Saturday put him in contention for win number five and Emil may be able to take some of the credit. "I played with my 16-year-old son on Saturday and he made a 35 footer on the last to tie," said Kjeldsen Snr. "We played from the same tees and everything so I had a little look in the mirror and said, 'Søren, you've got to pick this up a little bit'."

La bella vita for Wallace

Matt Wallace carded a second consecutive 67 to move within three shots of the lead as he continued his Italian love affair. The Englishman won three times in Italy as he finished number one on the Alps Tour in 2016, the same year he finished in the top five at the Terre dei Consoli Open on the European Challenge Tour. Another top five came in the 2017 Italian Open and Wallace thinks he knows what the key may be. "Must be the mozzarella balls," he said.

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