European Tour

Frittelli leads China Open by three shots

Dylan Frittelli (Gallo)
Dylan Frittelli (Gallo)

Beijing - Dylan Frittelli posted his second-straight bogey-free round to grab a three-stroke lead after the third round of the Volvo China Open on Saturday.

The South African followed up his course record of 63 at the Topwin Golf and Country Club on Friday with a flawless eight-under par 64 to finish the day three ahead of his closest rival at 19-under.

The overnight leader, Spain's Pablo Larrazabal, dropped back to second place at 16-under after shooting a 70 that featured five birdies but also three bogeys on a baking hot day in the Chinese capital that made the greens slippery.

Alexander Levy of France was outright third, a further four shots back at 12-under, after he recovered from a double-bogey on the par-5 third hole to sign for a 71, while England's Chris Wood charged up the leaderboard with a superb 65 to get to 11-under.

Another 14 players, including South Korea's 2009 US PGA Championship major winner Y.E. Yang, were within another two strokes, but all were facing an uphill battle trying to catch Frittelli, who is chasing his first European Tour title after winning twice on the Challenger Tour, in 2013 and again last year to earn his full card.

"The players out here are some of the best players in Europe and Asia so it's tough to beat the other players in the field," he said.

"The emotions you go through and the feelings you have in competition coming down the stretch, those are all pretty similar whether it's winning an amateur tournament or a professional tournament, it's the same type of feelings that you have to deal with, so hopefully I can contend well tomorrow (Sunday) and deal with those emotions."

Tied for second place at the start of the day, Frittelli trailed Larrazabal by four shots after the first two holes before halving the deficit when he birdied the fourth and his playing partner three-putted for bogey.

A team-mate of Jordan Spieth when they were both at the University of Texas, Frittelli reeled off three birdies in a row from the sixth to lead at the turn then picked up another four birdies on the back nine to finish with eight for the round.

"I like to think I would keep the same game plan tomorrow (Sunday) and maybe adjust on the back nine depending on the situation," he said.

"Pablo played great out there today as well - he's not going to lie down, he is one of the toughest guys to get into a dog fight with on the European Tour - so I'm definitely going to be wary of him on Sunday.

Leading scores after the third round of the European Tour Volvo China Open at the Topwin Golf and Country Club in Beijing on Saturday:

197 - Dylan Frittelli (RSA) 70-63-64

200 - Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) 64-66-70

204 - Alexander Levy (FRA) 63-70-71

205 - Chris Wood (ENG) 72-68-65

206 - Moon Kyongjun (KOR) 69-71-66, Bernd Wiesberger (AUT) 69-68-69

207 - Cao Yi (CHN) 68-72-67, George Coetzee (RSA) 67-69-71, Ross Fisher (ENG), 73-70-64, Lee Soomin (KOR) 69-65-73, Li Hao-tong (CHN) 69-71-67

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