De La Riva leads Andalucia

2012-03-17 20:08

Marbella - Unheralded Spanish golfer Eduardo De La Riva will take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Andalucia Open at Marbella.

De la Riva, who competes on the Spanish regional tour, posted six birdies in a round of 4-under 68 for a 12-under-par tally on the Aloha course on Saturday.

The Andalucia Open is only his ninth European Tour appearance in four years, with all but one having been contested in his homeland.

"I do know that if I win it will change the year I have been planning," he said.

"I've come here to try and win and I won't throw the towel in before the tournament finishes. I will try to be as relaxed as I have been the other days."

De La Riva will earn a one-year European Tour exemption should he succeed, but 18 players lie within four strokes of his lead.

Right on his tail at 11 under are Italian teenager Matteo Manassero (68) and England's Simon Khan (66).

Tied for fourth at 10 under were England's David Lynn (68), South African Hennie Otto (68) and tournament host Miguel Angel Jimenez (69).

There were five players at 9 under, and a further seven at 8 under.

Manassero kept alive hopes of qualifying for next month's Masters with a round that included five birdies, but the 18-year-old let slip a share of the lead with a 16th-hole bogey.

Manassero first competed in the 2009 Masters as the British Amateur champion but is yet to play at Augusta National as a professional.

Ranked 63rd in the world, he needs to win or finish second on Sunday and in next week's Hassan II Trophy in Morocco to qualify for Augusta as a top-50 player.

"Despite the three putts for bogey on 16 I am still right in this event and right where I wanted to be," Manassero said. "I played really well and, funny, my round of 68 was ever better than my 64 on Thursday as my game was a lot more solid from tee to green.

"So it was an easy 68 and it has also kept me in position to qualify for Augusta which is very important for me."

Khan rekindled the form that earned him victory two years ago in the tour's flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

He capped his round of 66 with three birdies in succession from the 10th hole.

It was also Khan's lowest score since a similar 66 on day two of last July's rain-shortened Scottish Open.

Jimenez commenced his round at 7 under and just one stroke off the lead, but dropped two strokes with two bogeys in his opening six holes.

He regrouped superbly with a 10th-hole birdie and a run of birdie, birdie, eagle from the 14th in his score of 69.

"I started out like a donkey but finished like a racehorse," he joked.

Leading and selected third round scores at the Andalucia Open at the Aloha GC, Andalucia, Spain on Saturday (GBR/IRL unless stated, par 72):

204 - Eduardo De La Riva (ESP) 67-69-68
205 - Matteo Manassero (ITA) 64-73-68, Simon Khan 70-69-66
206 - Hennie Otto (RSA) 67-71-68, Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP) 69-68-69, David Lynn 70-68-68
207 - Marcel Siem (GER) 69-71-67, Phillip Price 69-72-66, Julien Quesne (FRA) 68-72-67, Darren Fichardt (RSA) 69-71-67, Raphael Jacquelin (FRA) 70-68-69
208 - Damien McGrane 69-68-71, Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) 68-69-71, Graeme Storm 70-69-69, Oliver Fisher 71-69-68, Robert Rock 69-69-70, Gregory Bourdy (FRA) 70-72-66, Borja Etchart (ESP) 71-71-66, Mark Foster 69-70-69
209 - Alex Haindl (RSA) 68-71-70, Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (FRA) 69-72-68, Tommy Fleetwood 68-69-72, Andrea Pavan (ITA) 70-69-70, Gareth Maybin 72-68-69, Edoardo Molinari (ITA) 73-65-71, Bradley Dredge 74-67-68
210 - Shane Lowry 71-72-67, Ignacio Garrido (ESP) 69-71-70, Tano Goya (ARG) 72-69-69, Rafael Cabrera Bello (ESP) 71-70-69


211 - Jaco Van Zyl (RSA) 69-71-71, Marcus Fraser (AUS) 69-70-72
212 - Jeev Milkha Singh (IND) 72-69-71, Keith Horne (RSA) 73-70-69
213 - Mike Weir (CAN) 68-73-72
214 - Andrew Dodt (AUS) 70-74-70