Robert Rock sits two shots clear at the top of the European Tour’s BMW Italian Open leaderboard through 54 holes, but Saturday belonged to Niclas Fasth, who shot a blistering 8-under par 64 to claim a share of a second.
Fasth is without a top-10 finish this season, and ended up outside the top 100 on the Race to Dubai for the first time in a decade last year, but the 39-year-old enjoyed a timely return to form.
BMW ITALIAN OPEN
The 2011 BMW Italian Open is being played in Turin, best known in golf circles as the hometown of fast-rising Italian stars Francesco and Edoardo Molinari.
The Swede carded seven birdies -- including five in a row -- and an eagle with just one bogey to move to 14 under par overall. That leaves him as part of a six-way tie for second place along with Pablo Larrazabal, who shot a 7-under par 65, highlighted by eagles on the fifth and 18th.
Jbe Kruger, Gary Boyd, Francesco Molinari and Joost Luiten join them in the chasing pack. Ryder Cup star Molinari, playing in front of his home city fans, had six birdies and two bogeys in a round of 68.
Rock began the day at the top of the leaderboard and, having seen Fasth come through to temporarily claim top spot, returned to the summit with back-to-back birdies on the 12th and 13th. The 34-year-old Englishman completed the front nine in 34, having made up for a bogey on the fourth with birdies on the second, eighth and ninth.
England's Lee Slattery moved into a share of eighth with a 7-under par 65 including six birdies and no bogeys.
Chris Wood had a rough day, however, signing for a 71 to drop in to a tie for 12th, having all but cancelled out six birdies with three bogeys and a double bogey on the 14th.
David Dixon putted a 6-under par 66 that included seven birdies and just one bogey. It was the Englishman's best round in Italy so far and saw him in a share for 15th.
The shot of the day, however, belonged to Steve Webster, who is way down in a tie for 37th place, but went some way towards erasing a pair of double bogeys on his opening nine by making an albatross on the par-5 11th. He eventually signed for a 71.