European Tour

Dutch hope Luiten in lead

Joost Luiten (Gallo Images)
Joost Luiten (Gallo Images)

Netherlands - Holland's Joost Luiten boosted hopes of a first home victory in a decade when he birdied two of his closing three holes to seize a one shot lead after three rounds of the Dutch Open.

Luiten, 27, signed for a four under par 66 in wet and miserable conditions to move to the top of the board on 10-under par on the Kennemer course at Zandvoort.

Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez sandwiched a 13th hole birdie among 17 pars in a round of 69 to be in second place on nine-under par.

Luiten capped his round holing a 35-metre chip shot for birdie at the short par four sixth hole and then chipping in from 18-metres for birdie at 16 ahead of holing a 15-metre birdie at the next.

"It was a tough day out there today and it was all about surviving especially over the first nine holes when it was raining and very windy," he said.

"We all knew it was going to be tough and par out there would have been a good score, so to shoot four under is even better and I am pretty happy."

Luiten is not only looking to secure just a second Tour title this season but also more importantly become the first Dutch-born player to win the country's premier event since 2003.

And after leading compatriots Robert Jan Derksen and Maarten Laferber, who captured the title in 2003, missed the halfway cut there's been that added pressure on Luiten's shoulders.

"It would mean a lot to win the KLM Open as aside from winning a Major, winning your own national open is the next best achievement," he said.

"So it would mean a lot to me and to also the Dutch people as I had tremendous support out there today and I'm sure there may now be even more tomorrow."

Jimenez also has his own agenda in capturing a second Dutch Open victory and 19 years after a first.

After becoming the oldest-ever European Tour winne late last year in capturing the Hong Kong Open, the now 49-year old Malaga-born Jimenez could extend that record should he succeed in winning a 20th Tour title.

"I know there is going to be a lot of support for Joost but I believe the people who come out here tomorrow know about golf and they will respect whatever happens on the golf course," said Jimenez.

"I hope we can have a nice match and that the people will be delighted with the golf.

"But when I won this event 19 years ago in 1994 it was just my second win on the Tour and it would be great for me to win again tomorrow.

"And if I do win I am not going to say that it would be better than the first one because if I do win it will be my 20th victory and it will be a different moment in my life."

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