Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen produced a dazzling run of seven successive birdies to turn a five-stroke deficit into a four-shot lead at the Andalucian Open in Seville today.
Kjeldsen, who makes his Masters debut in 12 days’ time, was down in 16th place at the halfway stage.
He birdied two of the first five holes, but it was after a bogey on the next that he went into overdrive.
Three more birdies in a row took the 33-year-old Volvo Masters champion to the turn in 32, and then he began the back nine with four more.
It was very nearly even better as a 30-foot eagle attempt on the long 13th stopped on the edge of the hole.
He was up to 12 under par and needed to birdie the next to equal the European Tour record of eight in succession.
Kjeldsen misread the line on his 25-foot attempt to equal the record, but a par there and on the 15th kept him four clear of the chasing pack.
Compatriot Thomas Bjorn was up into a tie for second on eight under with Scot David Drysdale, England’s Graeme Storm, Spaniard Gonzalo Fernando-Castano, Frenchman Jean-Francois Lucquin and German Marcel Siem.
Leader by one overnight, Siem came to grief on the 436-yard fourth. Bunkered in two, he only just got out and then missed from four feet.
Siem’s horror show continued as he bogeyed the seventh and eighth to be six behind.
As for Colin Montgomerie on his 500th Tour appearance as a professional, he was down in 31st place and almost out of it.
Montgomerie had been in joint second place after an opening 67 but followed up with only a 72 and this afternoon bogeyed the second, seventh and eighth.
Even with a birdie at the long ninth, he was out in 38 and had fallen nine adrift.
Earlier, Swede Peter Hanson managed only a 74 and knew instantly what it meant - no Masters debut again.
Needing a top-three finish to have a chance of making the world’s top 50 just in time for Augusta, Hanson was down in 59th spot on two over par with a day to go and said: “Over – game over. That’s it.”
The 31-year-old also told his caddie he may not appear again until the Irish Open in mid-May.
“I’ll play when I’m motivated again. This is such a big disappointment - everybody knew why I came here this week.
“I’ve been so close the past two years. I ended 2007 54th in the rankings and was 55th at the end of last year.
“If Geoff Ogilvy had not birdied the last hole of the HSBC Champions in November (to tie for third) that might have done it for me.
“If I’d not lost to Paul Casey in the third round of the Match Play, a month ago that might have done it.
“I knew I needed to shoot really low today, even though it was raining hard at the start. But when I double-bogeyed the second it was such a long way to go, and every bit of my game is just a little bit off.”
Taking another double bogey on the 14th, where he had to lay up short of the lake and then went over the green with his pitch, ended any lingering hopes.
Dane Anders Hansen, who missed the cut at Augusta last year, was also in need of a top-three finish tomorrow to earn a return trip – but a 71 for three under left him down with Montgomerie.