Open de Espana: Miguel Angel Jimenez moves with two of leader Thomas Pieters at PGA Catalunya
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SportsPaulH. Last Updated: 17/05/14 7:14pm
Highlights from day three of the Open de Espana.
Crowd favourite Miguel Angel Jimenez moved into contention of what would be a hugely popular victory at the Open de Espana as he ensured he would play in Sunday's final pairing by moving to within two shots of leader Thomas Pieters.
The 50-year-old Spaniard led for parts of the third round at PGA Catalunya in Girona before Belgian Pieters regained top spot at the end of the day with two late birdies taking him to one-under for his round and seven-under for the tournament.
Third round leaderboard:
(GB & Ire unless stated)
-7 T Pieters (Bel)
-5 MA Jimenez (Spn)
-4 R Ramsay
-4 R Green (Aus)
-4 C Wood
-3 J Luiten (Ned)
-3 R Bland
-3 R Fisher
-3 M Kieffer (Ger)
Click here for collated scores
He will now have veteran Jimenez, who is more than twice his age, alongside him in Sunday's final pairing after the home hope hit six birdies in his three-under round of 69 to move to five-under and just two shots behind.
"I'm excited for tomorrow," said Pieters. "I'll just go out to play golf, obviously playing for a win too.
"Playing with Jimenez will be fun, I'll get to learn a lot from him and I'll just soak it all in. I've never played with him or any of the big names. The crowd will also be bigger and all the support will go to him but I just have to play my own game."
Jimenez is already the oldest winner in European Tour history, and claimed his maiden Champions Tour win on his debut last month, but is still more than capable of mixing it with the younger men on Tour.
Jimenez chipped in for birdie at the second, and holed an amazing 70-foot putt at the 13th to go two shots clear in the lead at the time, but let shots slip at 15 and at the last to move back into second.
22-year-old Pieters dropped two shots in his first five holes in a shaky start, but he recovered well to dig out birdies at 15 and 16 to ensure he retained his overnight lead.
"I stayed really patient, you need to be on this course and I'm getting better and better at it," Pieters added. "You know that it's going to be a hard day and an even par is a good score.
"I've always done well on really tough courses, I like grinding it out, not having to shoot six or seven under. Today I shot one under and I'm in the lead.
Scotland's Riche Ramsay had an eventful back nine with four birdies and three bogeys as he signed for a 71 and a four-under total to sit in a tie for third alongside England's Chris Wood and Australian Richard Green.
Joost Luiten slipped down to three-under after a two-over round of 74 thanks to bogeys on two of his last three holes, but Francesco Molinari fared even worse as he shot 75 to tumble down the leaderboard to one-under.
Ross Fisher shot the round of the day with two eagles in his five-under 67 to move up to three-under and and well in contention for a second win of the season after claiming the Tshwane Open in South Africa.
"I'm very pleased," said Fisher. "Starting the day two over par I wanted to get into red figures and I managed to do that. I played really well and the difference from Friday to Saturday was that I had the speed of the greens.
"On Friday I really struggled, I felt the greens were a lot slower than they were on Thursday morning so I'm pleased to go out there and play a solid round of golf."