NEWPORT, Wales – Peter Uihlein seized a three-shot lead at the ISPS Handa Wales Open on Saturday by shooting a 4-under 67 while the overnight leaders struggled in the third round.
The American had five birdies and an eagle at the par-5 ninth in an inconsistent round that also included three bogeys, giving him a 7-under total of 206. Frenchmen Thomas Levet (67) and Gregory Bourdy (70) were tied for second place in the first event that awards points for the 2014 European Ryder Cup team.
Overnight leader Liam Bond of Wales, who lives just 10 miles from Celtic Manor, fell out of contention with a 78 which included five bogies and double bogey. Norway's Espen Kofstad, who was second going into the round, shot a 76 to sit in a tie for 23rd.
Uihlein, the son of Titleist chief Peter Uihlein and the winner of the Madeira Islands Open this year, was on level par for the round after eight holes with two birdies and two bogeys, but then sent a long iron to within nine feet for an eagle that put him atop the leaderboard, a spot he never relinquished.
He holed a 50-footer for a birdie at the 10th picked up another stroke at the 14th, saved par from 25 feet at the 16th and got up and down from the sand for a closing birdie.
"I was just solid and was able to plot my way around," Uihlein said. "The wind was tricky sometimes, it would lay down then it would pick up, but it was always from the same direction so you could sort of get a beat on it."
Levet mixed seven birdies with three bogeys for his 67, while Bourdy had four birdies and a double bogey when he found the water at the short 13th.
"I played very solidly today," Levet said. "Even when I bogeyed, I was quite unlucky. It was a very good round."
The consistent Bourdy recovered well after his mishap at the 13th, picking up a shot on 16 and ending the day right in the mix.
"I am quite happy after the end because I had to fight to get pars on 17 and 18," he said.
A shot further back are Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Joost Luiten and Peter Hedblom.
Hedblom had the day's best round with a 66, mixing six birdies with a lone bogie at the 16th.
It was a bad day for European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley, who added a 77 to his opening 70-69 to fall from a share of fourth place down to a share of 42nd.