Fitzpatrick the man to catch in Rome as McDowell fails to advance

Englishman’s round of 68 leaves him at 13 under and one clear of Kurt Kitayama

Graeme McDowell on to the eighth green during day three of the Italian Open at Olgiata Golf Club in Rome, Italy. Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Graeme McDowell on to the eighth green during day three of the Italian Open at Olgiata Golf Club in Rome, Italy. Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

 

Matthew Fitzpatrick birdied four of his last six holes to surge up the leaderboard and take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Italian Open.

The Englishman had started the day in Rome a shot clear of the rest of the field but was one over after 10 holes before his big finish sent him back to the summit.

The 25-year-old’s round of 68 moved him to 13 under, one clear of America’s Kurt Kitayama and two ahead of Scot Robert MacIntyre.

Graeme McDowell sits six off the lead in a tie for 10th after a level par round of 71. The 2010 US Open winner birdied three of his first five holes and looked to be moving into contention with just a single bogey coming at the second.

However, further dropped shots at the seventh, 13th and 16th, with only one more birdie at the 10th, saw him finish the day at seven under.

Leader Fitzpatrick has four runner-up finishes worldwide in the 2019 season so far but will be going in search of a fifth professional career win on Sunday.

“To put myself one in front gives me a little bit of help,” he told europeantour.com. “I’m just looking forward and I’m ready to go already.

“Coming down the hill on the 12th it didn’t feel like I should be one over. I didn’t hit as many good shots as I would have liked around the turn so that cost me a little bit and put me back.

“To finish the way I did was great.”

An opening birdie from inside 10 feet was the perfect start for Fitzpatrick but he dropped shots at the second and 10th before holing a five-foot putt for birdie at the 13th and sandwiching a long putt on the 16th with gains at the par-five 15th and 17th.

MacIntyre also has three runner-up finishes in 2019 and will be looking for a first win on a top-flight tour after carding a bogey-free 64, one shot better than Kitayama.

England’s Matt Wallace and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger were at 10 under, a shot clear of Dane Soren Kjeldsen.

World number five Justin Rose had a day to forget, with a seven over par 78 leaving the Englishman 13 shots off the lead.

Collated third round scores & totals in the European Tour Italian Open, Olgaita GC, Rome, Italy (British unless stated, par 71):

200 Matthew Fitzpatrick 67 65 68

201 Kurt Kitayama (USA) 66 70 65

202 Robert Macintyre 69 69 64

203 Matt Wallace 69 67 67, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 66 70 67

204 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 68 70 66

205 Andrew Johnston 67 68 70, Jeunghun Wang (Kor) 72 69 64, Aaron Rai 69 67 69

206 Graeme McDowell (NIrl) 69 66 71, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 69 67 70, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 68 68 70

207 Joachim B. Hansen (Den) 67 66 74, Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 66 69 72, Daniel Willett 68 70 69, Francesco Laporta (Ita) 69 70 68, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 68 69 70

208 Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 64 72 72, Julian Suri (USA) 70 69 69, Lucas Herbert (Aus) 74 65 69, Ross Fisher 68 71 69, Tyrrell Hatton 68 69 71

209 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 72 67 70, Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 71 65 73, Joost Luiten (Ned) 66 72 71, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 71 70 68, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 72 69 68

210 Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 65 70 75, Stephen Gallacher 70 71 69, Paul Waring 70 67 73, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 70 71 69, Julien Guerrier (Fra) 69 67 74, Chris Paisley 68 71 71, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 69 70 71, Alexander Levy (Fra) 69 71 70

211 Adri Arnaus (Spa) 70 68 73, David Horsey 69 70 72, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 72 69 70, Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 69 67 75, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa) 72 69 70, Justin Walters (Rsa) 70 71 70, Jordan Smith 69 70 72, Adrian Otaegui (Spa) 68 70 73

212 Dean Burmester (Rsa) 70 72 70, Sam Horsfield 68 71 73, Alex Noren (Swe) 72 70 70, Sebastian Soderberg (Swe) 74 68 70, George Coetzee (Rsa) 69 73 70, Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 70 70 72, Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa) 70 72 70

213 Jason Scrivener (Aus) 71 70 72, Justin Rose 66 69 78, Guido Migliozzi (Spa) 72 66 75, Eddie Pepperell 70 72 71, James Morrison 72 68 73, Nino Bertasio (Ita) 72 69 72, Renato Paratore (Ita) 71 70 72, Oliver Fisher 71 70 72

214 Justin Harding (Rsa) 72 69 73, Victor Perez (Fra) 74 68 72, Nacho Elvira (Spa) 72 68 74, Lee Westwood 69 72 73

216 Kalle Samooja (Fin) 70 69 77, Ashun Wu (Chn) 70 70 76

217 S.S.P Chawrasia (Ind) 74 68 75, Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 71 71 75

218 David Lipsky (USA) 72 70 76

219 Ashley Chesters 71 71 77

221 Thomas Pieters (Bel) 71 71 79

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