Matthew Fitzpatrick fired a four-under-par 68 to open a five shot lead at the Nordea Masters on Saturday. The Englishman’s closest competitors heading into Sunday’s final round are Nicolas Colsaerts and defending champion Alexander Noren who are at 10-under-par.
The 21-year-old opened with seven straight pars in tricky conditions before a bogey at the eighth and a birdie at the ninth meant he went out in a disappointing 36 strokes.
‘It was tough going out, I don’t find the holes particularly suit me as much as the back nine’ he said of his front nine experience.
The world number 45 fared better on his favoured back nine as he started with a birdie at the tenth. He backed this up with no dropped shots on the home stretch which included a run of three birdies in a row from the 13th hole.
‘The big thing I’ve learned is that you have to be patient, anything can happen particularly down these finishing holes. The plan was to be patient and not try to push anything’ he said after his round.
While Fitzpatrick’s patience helped him increase his lead, his playing partner Nicolas Colsaerts had differing fortunes. A front nine free of bogeys that included three birdies, saw the ‘Belgian Bomber’ grab the lead after eight holes of the round. Making the turn, tie for the lead with Fitzpatrick, the 2012 Ryder Cup player went downhill courtesy of two bogeys on the 10th and 13th. Colsaerts rescued his round with a birdie at the 15th, but signed for a disappointing 70.
Defending champion Alexander Noren excited the home crowd as the Swede made his move on Saturday. A flawless front nine included three birdies before he made the turn in 33 strokes. His back nine started in dramatic fashion as he bogeyed the 10th and 11th. The Swede then re-ignited the crowd with a run of four straight birdies from the 12th to climb into a share of second place at the end of the round. His round of 67 will see him tee it off last with Fitzpatrick on Sunday as he goes in search of his third Nordea Masters title.
The best placed South African in the field is Jean Hugo who fired a disappointing round of 74 to be in a share for 16th place.