Molinari makes his move
Scotland's Marc Warren charges into third after a 64
Last Updated: 14/07/12 5:28pm
Francesco Molinari : five-under for his first 10 holes
Francesco Molinari moved a shot clear at the Scottish Open after a five-under-par third round 67 at Castle Stuart.
Third round leaderboard
(GB & Ire unless stated)
-17 F Molinari (Ita)
-16 A Hansen (Den)
-15 S Kjeldsen (Den)
-15 M Warren
Click here for collated scores
The Italian looked on course to match his opening 62 after playing the first 10 holes in five-under, but he had to settle for eight pars coming home.
Molinari is a shot clear of Dane Anders Hansen, who carded a 65.
His compatriot Soren Kjeldesn got round in one better to share third alongside Scotland's Marc Warren, who also had a 64.
Joint halfway leader Alexander Noren dropped into a share of fifth after a 70 that included an ugly six at the last.
The Swede is in a group on 14-under that includes Phil Mickelson, whose recent revival continued with a 65 to follow Friday's 64.
Asking for a late invitation to the Scottish Open could turn out to be one of the best decisions of Mickelson's career.
Outside the top 120 after an opening 73 the American four-time major champion, with one eye on the coming Open Championship, has charged up the leaderboard.
Last July Mickelson went from finishing only 58th at Castle Stuart to joint runner-up behind Darren Clarke at Sandwich, so no wonder he is so looking forward to what next weekend may now bring.
He has been trying to win The Open since 1991 - just as Clarke had been when he finally made it.
Eight days ago the 42-year-old was not even going to be in Inverness, but after a run of seven successive rounds over par and a missed cut at the Greenbrier Classic he decided to change plans.
"I should have had it planned out originally, but there was a chance to take the kids to Italy," he said.
"I'm very pleased and excited. Given my three previous events it would have been asking a lot to get ready for Thursday (the start of The Open) if I hadn'tplayed here.
"This course is so good at getting you ready for playing links golf. It does not beat you up so much."
That is demonstrated by the scoring this week - with no significant wind yet the halfway cut fell at four under, only two off the Tour record.
"I'll be trying to make a run at the lead, but more than that I feel like my game is starting to improve every day.
"Hopefully I'll have a good round and that will give me some momentum heading into next week as well.
"I'm excited about the (last two) scores because I haven't been playing at that level, even though I knew it wasn't that far off."
He was slow off the blocks with a front nine 35, but then had six birdies coming home in 30.