European Tour

Lee leads, flirts with 59

2013-09-07 18:15
Craig Lee (Getty Images)

Valais - Scotland's Craig Lee became the latest European Tour player to get close to posting a first-ever 59 before settling for a score of 61 and a two stroke lead on day three of the European Masters at Crans-sure-Sierre in Switzerland.

Lee, 36 came from six shots behind at the start of the round to be three in front when he birdied his opening six holes and then three in succession from the eighth on the par-71 course.

The Scot dropped a shot at the 12th but had a huge Swiss crowd following again on tenterhooks hooks when he birdied the 13th and 14th holes, and needing just two birdies in his closing four holes to become the first player in 41-years and 1,611 European Tour events to break 60.

However Lee ended with four straight pars for a 10-under par round to match the record score set by Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez on route to victory in 2010.

"I would have loved to have had a heart monitor on because I don't think my heart rate would have been below 100 beats a minute after that start I got off to," said Lee.

"There were a number of crucial putts I managed to hold and even sitting here now I'm not quite ready to relax.

"But it wasn't till we got to the par five 15th that shooting a 59 started to creep into my head.

"I thought I might get one on 15 but then wondered where would I get the two more birdies I needed as the last three holes are such a tough finish.

"So in the end it wasn't to be, but then I have to be happy with a 61."

Lee ended just one in front but was handed a two stroke leading cushion when Frenchman Victor Dubusson three-putted the last in a score of 66 to fall back into a share of second with Dane and former champion, Thomas Bjorn (67) and Spain's Alejandro Canizares (65).

And while Bjorn looks to capture his first victory since his Swiss success two years ago, he was full of praise for Lee.

"We saw Craig was nine under through 10 holes, as you can't help but notice that, and when you get a start like that you want him to shoot 59," said Bjorn.

"It was a remarkable round but then tomorrow I will be looking at leaderboards as you are going to have to judge when to be aggressive and when not to be."

England's Richard Finch, meanwhile, aced the par three, 16th in a round of 74.

Leading third round scores at the European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre on Saturday (GBR or IRL unless noted, par-71):

197 - Craig Lee 71-65-61

199 - Thomas Bjorn (DEN) 66-66-67, Alejandro Canizares (ESP) 69-65- 65, Victor Dubuisson (FRA) 68-65-66

202 - Tommy Fleetwood 65-68-69, Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP) 65-68-69

203 - Brooks Koepka (USA) 68-66-69, Ross Fisher 71-69-63

204 - Stephen Gallacher 67-65-72

205 - Paul Casey 65-69-71, Danny Willett 69-64-72

206 - Brett Rumford (AUS) 68-68-70, Maximilian Kieffer (GER) 68-69-69, Richard Finch 67-66-73, Richard Sterne (RSA) 69-66-71, Damian Ulrich (SUI) 71-69-66

207 - Scott Hend (AUS) 69-70-68, Mark Tullo (CHI) 68-66-73, Andrew Dodt (AUS) 69-72-66, Padraig Harrington 70-65-72, Gregory Havret (FRA) 68-69-70, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 68-69-70, Julien Quesne (FRA) 72-69-66

Read more on:    european tour  |  golf

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