European Tour

Pieters moves into two-shot lead in Prague

Thomas Pieters (File)
Thomas Pieters (File)

Prague - Defending champion Thomas Pieters will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Czech Masters, after moving onto 12 under par overall in Prague on Saturday.

The Belgian went into the third day tied for the lead with Denmark's Jeff Winther and, despite back-to-back bogeys early on the back nine, the 24-year-old is in pole position to make it consecutive victories at the Albatross Golf Resort.

Pieters settled for a two-under-par 70 after six successive pars to finish his round and is a couple of strokes clear of American Paul Peterson.

He needs to win the tournament and also claim the Made in Denmark title next week if he is to force his way into the automatic qualifying places for Darren Clarke's European Ryder Cup team.

"I'm not very happy with today but I'm still in front so I'm just looking forward tomorrow and hopefully I can post a good score," Pieters told the European Tour website.

"It was the same last year, I was one ahead, so I've been in this position and hopefully I can just use what I learned the last time around.

"I feel quite relaxed out there with my caddie and we have a good game plan so everything is set to go well tomorrow."

Peterson, the world number 398, took the course apart with eight birdies in a 64 to catapult himnself into the final group for Sunday.

Winther had to fight hard for a one-over-par 73 and is tied for third with Robert Rock, who signed for a 65.

Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick, who currently holds the last automatic spot for the Ryder Cup matches that start at Hazeltine next month, could only manage a 71 and is now five shots adrift of Pieters.

Leading scores from the third round of the European Tour's Czech Masters at the par-72 Albatross Golf Resort in Prague on Saturday (GBR & IRL unless stated):

204 - Thomas Pieters (BEL) 67-67-70

206 - Paul Peterson (USA) 72-70-64

207 - Jeff Winther (DEN) 68-66-73, Robert Rock 72-70-65

208 - Graeme Storm 68-72-68

209 - Matthew Fitzpatrick 69-69-71, David Howell 70-68-71, David Lipsky (USA) 71-70-68, Robert Karlsson (SWE) 68-70-71, Ryan Evans 66-73-70, Charlie Ford 73-70-66

210 - Peter Hanson (SWE) 67-71-72, Brett Rumford (AUS) 70-72-68

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England 219
Pakistan 326 & 137/8 (44 ov)
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England 219
Pakistan 326 & 137/8 (44 ov)
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