Cabrera-Bello sets up Portugal shootout

Sat, 15 Oct 19:26:00 2011

Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello, aiming for a second European Tour title, led the Portugal Masters after another bout of low-scoring by the third-round field at the Victoria club.

GOLF Rafael Cabrera Bello Abierto Austria 2009 - 0

An eight-under 64 laced with two eagles and five birdies took the 2009 Austrian Open winner to 18-under-par 198, a stroke better than Swede Christian Nilsson (66) and Chile's Felipe Aguilar (67).

Thomas Bjorn (66), bidding for a fourth win of the year, and 2010 Ryder Cup Swede Peter Hanson (64) are a further stroke back.

Italian rookie Lorenzo Gagli (66) continued his rich vein of form to trail by three strokes. Briton Tom Lewis (68), trying to gain a 2012 tour exemption from invitations, is four shots back.

World number six Martin Kaymer (70) and triple major champion Padraig Harrington (67) trail seven strokes behind Cabrera-Bello.

Cabrera-Bello won his first event by coming through the field, but the Spaniard is relishing the prospect of leading from the front on Sunday.

"I'm in the final group for the first time in my career," the player from Gran Canaria said. "So it's going to be a good learning day and I'm going to try to enjoy every bit of it."

Gagli, runner-up in last week's Madrid Masters and with a third place and three fifth places to his name, is again in contention as he tries to follow his compatriot Matteo Manassero and become Europe's rookie of the year.

Coaching with Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal at the start of the season is paying off, he said. "Jose Maria gave me good advice on my short game," Gagli said. "He told me I should get more bounce off the ground with my club and that's working for me this week."

Kaymer, the course record holder, and Harrington, the two top attractions at Victoria, have a huge task to win.

"I didn't hit a lot of fairways," Kaymer said. "I think I'll need that course-record 61 tomorrow."

Harrington said: "I didn't get anything out of the par-fives, and with the winning score likely to be at least 20 under, it's a long stretch from 11 under to 20. Now I have to be spectacular."

The 1999 British Open champion, Paul Lawrie, carded a 69 to lie 12-under, six shots off the lead, the day after the death of his former coach and fellow Scot Adam Hunter, 48, from leukaemia.

Hunter, the 1995 Portuguese Open winner, coached Lawrie at the time of his Carnoustie major success. "It wasn't easy," Lawrie said. "I spoke to his wife last night and she told me to make sure I played hard for him."

Reuters

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