Del Moral pounces as Wilson stalls


Golf:Spaniard Carlos Del Moral knocked two strokes off his previous best European Tour round to take control of the Madeira Islands Open with one round to go.

The 26-year-old from Valencia, with a previous highest finish of fifth on the circuit, charged from five behind to three in front with a sparkling nine-under-par 63.

Del Moral, ranked 397th in the world, reached 17 under par on a day to forget for ex-Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson.

Hoping for his first victory after an amazing nine runners-up finishes, Wilson led at halfway, but managed only a 72 and is now four back in joint third.

Joakim Lagergren is second on 14 under following a 70, with his fellow Swedes Mikael Lundberg and Magnus Carlsson, Wilson and Portugal’s Ricardo Santos one further back.

Del Moral took over at the top with six birdies in an outward 30 and then finished with three more birdies to march clear of the field.

Wilson did not have a single bogey in opening with rounds of 66 and 65, but mixed three with three birdies, the last of those on the final green at least boosting his confidence entering the final day.

Del Moral had just 22 putts in his round and told the European Tour website: “It was incredible. I putted beautifully and it gives me a lot of confidence. I had nine holes in a row — the entire front nine — with only one putt. And the ones that I missed were so close to going in.

“It was tough mentally on the back nine. I have been working on my swing for a while and this is the first time I’ve been up there in a tournament and it feels like it is in place.

“Last week at the Spanish Open I played well, but didn’t putt well. I’m very excited about tomorrow. I’ve been up there before a few times and didn’t perform as well as I’d hoped, but I’m a much more mature player now and I am looking forward to it.”

Tour rookie Lagergren said: “I was a little nervous on the first tee, but that soon went away. My putter was ice cold and I missed a few short ones.

“I’ll have to go on the hunt tomorrow. I’ve shot 66 the first two rounds, so I know there are low scores out there. Carlos is three ahead but that’s not a lot in a final round, so I’ve just got to concentrate on playing well and hopefully I can catch him.”