Fitzpatrick maintains one-shot Italian Open lead

Fitzpatrick is aiming for a sixth European Tour win (AFP Photo/Paul ELLIS)
Fitzpatrick is aiming for a sixth European Tour win (AFP Photo/Paul ELLIS)

Rome (AFP) - Matthew Fitzpatrick birdied four of his final six holes on Saturday to hold onto a one-shot lead at the Italian Open heading into the final round.

The Englishman's strong finish was enough for a three-under-par third round of 68 which took him to 13-under for the tournament.

"To finish the way I did, was great," said Fitzpatrick, who is looking to win for the fifth straight year on the European Tour.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

"To put myself one in front going into that gives me a little bit of help... I'm just looking forward and ready to go already."

American Kurt Kitayama powered up the leaderboard into second place with a 65, while Scot Robert MacIntyre continued his impressive debut season on the European Tour by firing a 64 to move within two strokes of the lead.

The 23-year-old MacIntyre, who has broken into the world's top 100 and finished tied-sixth in July's British Open, is projected to leap to seventh in the season-long Race to Dubai standings.

"I'm not really looking at the world ranking now," he said.

"Just trying to run up that as fast as I can, to end the season really high. Obviously, Race to Dubai, if I get into position coming into the last three (events), you go for gold, don't you."

World number 31 Fitzpatrick started the round with a one-shot lead but looked in danger of slipping adrift after 10 holes in Rome. Instead, he remains in control as he bids for a sixth European Tour title.

His compatriot Matt Wallace and Austria's Bernd Wiesberger remain in contention, just three shots behind on 10-under.

It was a horrible day, though, for Justin Rose, as the former world number one plummeted down the leaderboard with a seven-over 78 in which he failed to make a single birdie.

Rose, who was only three shots back overnight, is now 13 off the pace and tied for 51st.

What to Read Next