Slattery storms to Italian Open lead

England’s Lee Slattery fired a best-of-the-week 62 on day three for a 19-under-par total at the Italian Open at Gardagolf Country Club to lead by one shot going into Sunday’s final round.

The 39-year-old Brits third round of nine under included eight birdies, an eagle and a single bogey to leave him one shot ahead of Denmark’s Thorbjørn Olesen and Frenchman Francesco Molinari, with halfway leader Martin Kaymer and Danny Willett were a shot further back.

“It was very relaxing, playing with two good guys, Laurie Canter and Richard Sterne, know them both quite well, and we just enjoyed it,” Slattery said afterwards.

“When you get in that zone, you just keep making birdies. It’s a great feeling. I’ll just try and relax and just enjoy it tomorrow.”

Slattery started off his round by making birdies at the fourth and sixth, then on the seventh, he nailed a ten-foot putt for an eagle.

He then birdied the tenth but dropped a shot with a bogey on the 12th hole. After his bogey, he nailed three more birdies on the 13th, 14th, 15th and another on the last hole from 12 feet for his nine under round.

Molinari carded six birdies in his five under round of 66 while Olesen made seven birdies before dropping a shot on the 16th for a round of 65 to end up tied for second place a shot off the pace set by Slattery.

Kaymer and Willett a shot back with rounds of 68 and 67 respectively and English pair Andy Sullivan and Jordan Smith fired rounds of 65 for a share of sixth place on 13 under with China’s Li Haotong (67) and Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello (68).

Leading Italian Open scores after three rounds:

1 ENG Lee Slattery -16 66 69 62 – 197
T2 ITA Francesco Molinari -15 66 66 66 – 198
T2 DEN Thorbjorn Olesen -15 65 68 65
T4 ENG Danny Willett -14 65 67 67 – 199
T4 GER Martin Kaymer -14 68 63 68
T6 ENG Andy Sullivan -13 67 68 65 – 200
T6 CHN Haotong Li -13 68 65 67
T6 ENG Jordan Smith -13 67 68 65
T6 ESP Rafael Cabrera Bello -13 65 67 68
T10 ENG Ian Poulter -12 67 68 66 – 201
T10 AUS Scott Hend -12 68 66 67
T10 RSA Thomas Aiken -12 69 68 64
T10 BEL Thomas Pieters -12 65 67 69
T14 RSA Jacques Kruyswijk -11 67 70 65 – 202
T14 ITA Matteo Manassero -11 66 68 68
T14 ENG Robert Rock -11 63 70 69
T17 WAL Bradley Dredge -10 67 68 67
T17 ENG Charlie Ford -10 65 71 67 – 203
T17 RSA Dean Burmester -10 70 67 66
T17 RSA Dylan Frittelli -10 67 67 69
T17 NIR Graeme McDowell -10 66 66 71
T17 ITA Lorenzo Gagli -10 68 69 66

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