Saturday, August 20, 2016

No doubting Thomas ... Belgian leads by two

 in Czech Masters' title defence

Thomas Pieters will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the D+D REAL Czech Masters as he attempts to retain his title at Albatross Golf Resort.
The Belgian's victory in Prague 12 months ago was his first on the European Tour and rounds of 67-67-70 over the first three days this year have got him to 12 under and put him in pole position to repeat the feat for win number three.
Pieters' career has gone from strength to strength since that win as he finished 29th on last season's Race to Dubai and arrived in the Czech Republic off the back of a fourth-placed finish at the Olympic Men's Golf Competition.
A place in the European Ryder Cup teamis still a possibility as well but he will need to claim back-to-back wins here and at next week's Made in Denmark to get in the mix.

His closest challenger heading into Sunday will be American Paul Peterson, who equalled the course record with a 64 to sit two shots behind the leader.
England's Robert Rock and Dane Jeff Winther were then at nine under, a shot clear of another Englishman in Graeme Storm.
Winther came into the day sharing the lead with Pieters and he made the first move as he took advantage of the par five first to go to 11 under and edge ahead.
The Challenge Tour graduate made another birdie at the fourth to go two in front but he gave the shot straight back and when Pieters put his approach on the sixth to ten feet, there was a tie at the top.
Another Pieters birdie followed on the next as he put his tee-shot on the par three to 12 feet and rolled in the putt.
Both of the leading duo then left themselves awkward chips on the eighth and while Pieters got up and down, Winther missed a short putt to drop to ten under.
Pieters had spoken this week of being less aggressive due to having more trust in his wedge play and he laid up on the par five ninth before putting his approach to six feet to make a third birdie of the day.
He used a similar tactic on the next to open up a four-shot gap but back-to-back bogeys on the 11th and 12th brought him back towards the pack.
"I think there were too many poor shots today," he said. "I had some good looks at birdie down the stretch but I didn't hit enough good putts and the greens were a little bumpy at the end.
"I'm not very happy with today but I'm still in front so I'm just looking forward tomorrow and hopefully I can post a good score. It was the same last year, I was one ahead, so I've been in this position and hopefully I can just use what I learned the last time.

"I feel quite relaxed out there with my caddie and we have a good game plan so everything is set to go well tomorrow."

Winther made a third bogey of the day on the 14th to sign for a 73.
Peterson flew out of the blocks with birdies on the first and second and added to them on the fifth, sixth and ninth to turn in 31. Further gains followed on the tenth and 13th before an eighth of the day on the 15th after an impressive putt brought a loud celebration.
He had 12 feet on the last to claim the record all for himself but he missed on the low side and shares the mark with Scott Jamieson and Mikael Lundberg.
Rock also started birdie-birdie and added further gains at the fourth, tenth, 12th, 15th and last.
Storm birdied three of his last four holes in a 68 that left him a shot ahead of countrymen Matthew Fitzpatrick, David Howell, Ryan Evans and Charlie Ford, American David Lipsky and Swede Robert Karlsson.

par 216 (3x72)
204 T Pieters (Belgium) 67 67 70
206 P Peterson (USA) 72 70 64
207 J Winther (Denmark) 68 66 73, R Rock (England) 72 70 65
208 G Storm (England) 68 72 68

211 Marc Warren 71 68 72 (T14)
212 Scott Jamieson 68 73 71, Andrew McArthur 73 70 69 (T24)
214 Craig Lee 68 71 75 (T44)
216 David Drysdale 73 72 71 (T65)
217 David Law 71 74 72, Paul Lawrie 69 76 72 (T74) 





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