/ Golf

Thomas Pieters keeps Spanish Open lead

Updated: Saturday, 17 May 2014 20:20 | Comments

Pieters reclaimed top spot with birdies at the 15th and 16th in a round of 71 Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain
Pieters reclaimed top spot with birdies at the 15th and 16th in a round of 71 Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain

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World number 690 Thomas Pieters will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Spanish Open after home favourite Miguel Angel Jimenez's charge faltered.

Jimenez surged two clear of the field thanks to six birdies in his opening 13 holes at PGA Catalunya, but bogeyed the 15th and 18th to card a third round of 69.

That left the 50-year-old, who was fourth in the Masters last month and then won on his Champions Tour debut seven days later, on five-under-par and allowed overnight leader Pieters to reclaim top spot with birdies at the 15th and 16th in a round of 71.

Gareth Maybin carded a 73 and is level par overall, as is Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, while Shane Lowry (+2) is next best of the Irish contingent. And David Higgins (+3) shot level-par 72s, while Kevin Phelan (+2) went around in 71.

Simon Thornton is eight over for the tournament after a 76 today. 

"I played very well the first nine holes and was solid until the 14th but made a bad bogey on the 15th"

"I'm a little disappointed with that," admitted Jimenez, who has no plans to switch to the seniors circuit as he chases a fifth Ryder Cup appearance at Gleneagles in September. "I didn't hit it very well the last few holes.

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"I played very well the first nine holes and was solid until the 14th but made a bad bogey on the 15th where I three-putted from eight metres and also bogeyed the last."

Jimenez is already the oldest winner in European Tour history, beating his own record by winning the Hong Kong Open for a record fourth time at the age of 49 years and 337 days last December.

But despite 20 tournament victories to his credit the world number 34 has never won his national open and added: "It would be nice. I'd love to win the Spanish Open of course and we'll see what happens tomorrow."

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