Luiten stretches his lead to three shots after third round of Lyoness Open

Joost Luiten at the Lyoness Open
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Joost Luiten stretched his Lyoness Open lead to three by making seven birdies after two early bogeys.
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PGA.com news services

Series: European Tour

ATZENBRUGG, Austria -- Joost Luiten of the Netherlands shot a 5-under 67 Saturday, extending his lead to three strokes heading into the final round of the Lyoness Open on the European Tour.

Holding a one-shot overnight lead, Luiten bogeyed two of his first five holes. He recovered with seven birdies to finish at 16-under 200, three strokes ahead of Spaniards Jorge Campillo (66) and Eduardo de la Riva (69).

Luiten is in contention for his second European Tour title.

''I like to be in front,'' said Luiten, who won at the Iskandar Johor Open in 2011. ''Before I won in Malaysia, I had been up there a couple of times, but I couldn't finish it off.''Thomas Bjorn of Denmark had a 64 to join Romain Wattel of France (69) at 11 under. Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain (69) and Paul Waring of England (72) were another stroke back.

Defending champion Bernd Wiesberger had three bogeys on his back nine for a 72. The Austrian dropped to 29th, lowering his chance of reaching the top 10, which could earn him a berth at the U.S. Open next week.

''My putting wasn't what it should be,'' Wiesberger said.

Luiten admitted to feeling the heat early on as he saw his one-shot advantage wrestled away from him first by Bjorn – whose 64 was the pick of the third-round scores – and then de la Riva. Indeed, there was little to separate the cluster of players at the top with Luiten part of a three-way tie alongside Campillo and Waring heading into the final four holes.

However, the Dutchman found form at the right time to make gains at the 15th, 16th and 17th holes.

“It's easy if you play like I did on the back nine, but the first fives holes were tough,” Luiten said. “Once I settled down a bit I started to play better, hit some good shots and make some putts. The first hole you're always nervous.”

Bjorn stole the show in the morning as he, bidding to post his third top-10 finish in his last four tournaments, posted an inward 30. His remarkable round was ignited in strange circumstances on the par-4 12th when he was contemplating changing his ball before seeing his approach find the hole.

“I hit the drive and I said to my caddie to change the ball at the next hole as the flight was a bit funny,” he said. “Then I holed the second shot and he looked at me and said, 'Flying funny is it?'