• Sicilian Open, Round Three

Up-and-comer Olesen three clear in bid for first win

ESPN staff
March 31, 2012
Thorbjorn Olesen could win his first European Tour title on Sunday © Getty Images


Danish youngster Thorbjorn Olesen will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Sicilian Open, after bursting clear of a tightly-packed leaderboard on Saturday.

With just five shots separating every player left in the field following the second round cut, the stage was set for almost any player to gain a lot of ground on what is traditionally known as a tournament's 'moving day'. And it was Olesen who ensured he made the most of the opportunity on an extremely windy day in Sicily, as he picked up six shots in his final 12 holes to shoot a round of 67 and reach 12-under for the tournament.

An eagle at the par-five 14th was the pivotal moment of Olesen's round, although another birdie at the 18th gave him an extra cushion as he bids for his first European Tour title. He finished second in three events last year; his first on tour.

"I struggled a little bit on the front nine, but managed to hang in there and was pleased to pick up two shots after making a bogey on the sixth hole," Olesen said. "That got me going a little bit and I was able to make a few more chances on the back nine.

"I know that I'm going to have to play very well tomorrow, because there are a lot of great players up there and you can't win on the European Tour by playing average golf.

"My confidence is very high at the moment because of the way I'm playing, and hopefully I can finish the job off. With a bit of luck, the wind will be a little calmer tomorrow. Either way, my short game is going to have to very good."

He will be joined in the final round by another relatively inexperienced pro, as Canadian Adam Parr bids for his maiden European title from his current position at nine-under.

Parr got there thanks to a matching third round of 67 - lower than the other player at nine-under, Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts (69), who might nevertheless be considered a more likely challenger to Olesen over the final round.

Elsewhere the leaderboard remains as tightly packed as it was 24 hours earlier, with three players within striking distance at eight-under. Scot Lloyd Saltman, Irishman Peter Lawrie and Soren Kjeldsen, another Dane, are in position after rounds of 69, 68 and 71 respectively.

Steve Webster (68), Scott Pinkney (70) and Jose Manuel Lara (70) complete another trio a shot further back at seven-under.

American John Daly sits on six-under, alongside the likes of Graeme Storm and Chris Wood. Another Englishman, Tom Lewis, is a shot further behind at five-under - alongside former US PGA champion Rich Beem and Irishman Shane Lowry, among others.

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