Francesco Molinari (Getty Images)
Marvelous Francesco Molinari has taken control of the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart in Inverness, Scotland. Francesco had a sparkling third round of -5 under par, 67, to lead the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at -17 under par. Francesco has enjoyed arguably the best run of his career with the putter recently, which has been a key factor in his success this week in the first three rounds. He is obviously aiming to win tomorrow, but takes heart at the way he is playing going into The Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes.
” My golf and my form are getting better and better. Obviously it’s a very good time to be playing this well, and I’ll just see how it goes tomorrow. But however it goes, I know I’m going to be at Lytham playing well and so it’s just a case of keep doing the same stuff and see what happens. I think for the moment, obviously to win here is the first goal. But it’s good to know, not only from this week, but from last week, as well, that I’m playing well and putting well.”
Dane Anders Hansen is in second spot on his own, thanks to a -7 under par, 65, third round score, and a total of -16 under par. Anders said of his steady round;
“I played steady today and did not make many mistakes and just kept the ball in play and gave myself some opportunities, and so it was pretty steady. It’s a new day tomorrow. We’ll see what is going to happen. Francesco is obviously playing very, very good golf at the moment. I had a great finish last week, so it’s going to be fun to play with him. It’s very, very difficult to pick a winner. The scores are so low. It’s very difficult to keep making putts and to keep making birdies.”
Soren Kjeldsen and Scotland’s Marc Warren share third place at -15 under par, Soren is aiming for a good day tomorrow as he targets the one qualification spot available for the Open. He reported;
“I would love to play. If I play well tomorrow and I get in, it’s a bonus, but I have plans to have a little bit of a rest and be away from the game a little bit. If I get the chance to go to Lytham, I will obviously smile and go at it.”
As a local boy, Marc would love to win his home tournament and admitted he had a lot of chances today;
” It was one of the most stress free days really. I felt really in control of everything I was doing, which was different from the first two days. I felt like I was fighting it a little bit, especially off the tee. But today drove it really well and had a lot of chances. “
There are four players at -14 under par, including another two Scotsmen, Martin Laird and Peter Whitehead, who would also be very keen to win their home Championship. With the same score are American Phil Mickelson and Alexander Noren.
Alexander, who was Francesco playing partner today, and was really matching Francesco shot for shot until he suffered the ignominy of losing a ball, due to a poor tee shot on the 12th hole. That mishap, which resulted in Alex carding an eight on the hole leaves him three shots off the lead at -14 under par. Martin Laird said he thinks his friends in the gallery will help him tomorrow;
“I did exactly what I needed to; to get myself back in the mix here. My goal was to shoot a low one, and I obviously did that and I’m happy. I’ve got friends and family in the gallery but also the local people cheering me on. It was great, seemed like every birdie I made, I picked up a few more people and it was great to hear them willing you on.”
Everyone will still be acutely aware of the presence of Phil Mickelson, at just three shots back he is a fierce competitor. Also one shot further back is World number one Luke Donald, I think he will be firmly in the mix coming down the stretch Sunday afternoon.