Broadhurst on top in Portugal

Broadhurst on top in Portugal

Former Ryder Cup player Paul Broadhurst moved into position today for a tilt at a third Portuguese Open title in five years.

Back on the Oitavos Dunes course which witnessed one of the European Tour's most dramatic finishes in 2005 the 42-year-old played the last 13 holes of his third round in a superb six-under-par.

Signing for a 67, he goes into the final day seven under par and one ahead of fellow Englishman David Lynn, Wales' Jamie Donaldson and Dutchman Maarten Lafeber, who just missed out on a Tour record for nine holes when he charged home in 28.

Four years ago Broadhurst looked set to miss out on victory, but first Paul Lawrie triple-bogeyed the 17th and then Barry Lane, suddenly finding himself in front, ran up a horror quintuple bogey nine on the last.

Asked if he fancied a repeat of that climax he said: "No - absolutely not.

"I double-bogeyed the 18th myself on Thursday. It's a tough finishing hole and if I've got a four-shot lead there tomorrow I'll be chucking a five-iron down there.

"It's not over til it's over here. We saw that in 2005."

Broadhurst then made a successful defence of the trophy at Penina, but has not won anywhere since.

He has also missed six of his previous nine cuts this season and added: "There must be something in the beer in Portugal.

"It suits my game. There are one or two tight holes, but a bit of a room on others. And after struggling with my putter for two or three months it seems to be working."

Lafeber had five successive birdies before chipping in from 20 yards for an eagle on the long 16th, then left himself a 25-foot chance on the last to match the record 27 for nine holes.

Five players have done that and one of them, Robert Lee, has managed it twice, but the 34-year-old left his effort short.

He was happy enough, however, with a seven under par 64 - also one outside the course record - after starting the day down in 43rd place.

"I played great yesterday, but had 35 putts and didn't get anything out of the round," he said.

"I thought if I could get to two or three under I might have a little chance tomorrow. Then came that fantastic back nine."

Lynn came home in 31 for a 65, while Donaldson, who had to go back to the qualifying school three years ago and then came through the Challenge Tour to regain a card, matched Broadhurst's 67.

Halfway leader Ross McGowan was sharing top spot with three to play, but after missing great birdie chances on the 16th and 17th bogeyed the last.

He is now joint fifth with Lawrie, whose 68 gave the 1999 Open champion a chance to make amends for four years ago.

That is not the Scot's only bad memory of the venue, though. He was lying third two years ago before triple-bogeying the 17th again and closing with a double bogey.

Compatriot Chris Doak, joint second overnight, slumped to an outward 42, but an inward 31 restored his battered confidence. It still left the Tour rookie five off the pace, however.

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