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Thomas Bjorn pulls three shots clear

Dane Thomas Bjorn fired a second successive seven-under-par 65 on Saturday to take a three-shot lead into the Portuguese Open final round.

The 39-year-old was steady at the start of his round at Penha Longa but burst into life with seven birdies in 13 holes from the sixth to card a 19-under total of 197.

Bjorn needed to liven up as motor racing fan Richard Green came roaring after him.

The Australian equalled the course record of 64 after an impressive putting display as he finished on 200, two strokes better than Irishman Damien McGrane (68).

Argentine Daniel Vancsik (68) and Britons Robert Rock (68) and Robert Coles (69) were a further shot behind.

Bjorn has lost his way since finishing 14th on the European money-list in 2006, the year he won the Irish Open to claim the last of his nine titles.

During a week in which he has also pre-qualified for next month’s British Open at St Andrews, though, the Dane has shown the sort of form that earned Ryder Cup appearances in 1997 and 2002.

“I was a little bit nervous at the start, it’s been so long,” Bjorn told Reuters. “But I’ve learned not to force it and soon the birdies came thick and fast.

“Now I have to produce in the final round. I can’t hang back and expect it to fall into my lap.”

Left-hander Green beat compatriot Greg Norman and Britain’s Ian Woosnam, both major winners, in a playoff for the 1997 Dubai Desert Classic crown but it was another 10 years before he added the Austrian Open to his European Tour CV.

The 39-year-old Australian took only 25 putts as he strung together eight birdies on Saturday.

Green also found top gear earlier in the week when he drove a Ferrari around the nearby Estoril Grand Prix circuit after Thursday’s first round.

“It was a great experience driving on one of the world’s great circuits,” he said. “I raced in the GT category at the Australian Grand Prix and came fourth in my class this year.

“It is dangerous and accidents do happen. You just have to make sure you’re not in one.”



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