Laurie Canter takes three-shot lead into final round at Valderrama

Matt Fitzpatrick leads the chasing pack after another tough day at fearsome venue

Laurie Canter of England on the 18th hole during day three of The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters at Real Club Valderrama. Photo: Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Laurie Canter of England on the 18th hole during day three of The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters at Real Club Valderrama. Photo: Angel Martinez/Getty Images

 

England’s Laurie Canter will take a three-shot lead over countryman Matt Fitzpatrick into the final round of the Andalucia Masters.

Canter birdied the last in a 67 to get to seven under and give himself some breathing room at the top of the leaderboard, with Fitzpatrick carding a third-round 70 in his first event since the Ryder Cup.

It was just five years ago that Canter signed for an 89 at Valderrama in the Open de Espana but he is now on the brink of claiming his first European Tour title at the 1997 Ryder Cup venue, which is widely regarded as one of the toughest tests in the game.

“The golf course doesn’t give you loads,” he said. “Although, as we all know, there’s opportunities to drop shots here.

“I think what it means is I can go out tomorrow and play how I have these last couple of days. The score I end up on will be competitive, I think. That gives me a lot of confidence going in.

“The course is asking a lot of different challenges and you can’t dwell when it goes against you. I’m trying to stay as level as I can and I’m doing a good job.”

Birdies on the first and second had Canter in the lead but he gave the shots back on the third and fifth before gains on the sixth, eighth, 10th and 11th put him three ahead.

Fitzpatrick had turned in one over but he made a hat-trick of birdies from the 10th — including a chip-in on the 11th — to trim the lead to two.

Both players bogeyed the 13th but Canter hit a huge drive down the last and put an approach to 12 feet for a closing birdie and a three-shot cushion.

Fitzpatrick failed to claim a point as Europe were defeated 19-9 at Whistling Straits and the Yorkshireman was happy to have the competitive juices flowing again.

“I’m excited to be in the final group,” he said. “The aim at the start of the week is to be up there. It doesn’t get better than having a chance to win on Sunday. I’ll go out there and enjoy it.

“Valderrama was a real test today. I’m really pleased with the way I grinded it out and I’m happy with the one under.”

American David Lipsky was at three under after a 64, with just nine players under par.

Scores after the third round of the Andalucia Masters (British unless stared, Par 71)

206 Laurie Canter 74 65 67

209 Matthew Fitzpatrick 71 68 70

210 David Lipsky (USA) 71 75 64

211 Min-Woo Lee (Aus) 73 71 67, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 73 70 68, Sebastian Soederberg (Swe) 70 69 72, Romain Langasque (Fra) 69 69 73, Renato Paratore (Ita) 71 70 70

212 Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 75 71 66

213 Alexander Bjoerk (Swe) 72 71 70, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 70 69 74, Sebastian Garcia (Spa) 72 71 70, Fabrizio Zanotti (Par) 73 70 70, Robert Rock 72 68 73, Julien Guerrier (Fra) 67 73 73

214 Joachim B. Hansen (Den) 70 72 72, Alejandro Canizares (Spa) 71 69 74, Scott Jamieson 72 68 74, Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 74 72 68, James Morrison 72 73 69

215 Aaron Rai 72 71 72, Thorbjoern Olesen (Den) 72 72 71, Rafael Cabrera (Spa) 68 74 73, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa) 71 72 72, Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 75 72 68, Daniel Gavins 71 72 72, George Coetzee (Rsa) 76 71 68, Wil Besseling (Ned) 70 74 71, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 74 71 70, Michael Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 73 73 69, Jordan Smith 73 72 70, Andrew Johnston 70 73 72, Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 71 70 74, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 69 73 73, Adrian Meronk (Pol) 71 76 68

216 Ignacio Elvira (Spa) 72 74 70, John Catlin (USA) 73 74 69, Callum Shinkwin 74 71 71, Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn) 73 72 71, Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 72 71 73, Nino Bertasio (Ita) 72 71 73, Ashley Chesters 72 72 72, David Horsey 73 72 71

217 Jorge Campillo (Spa) 73 71 73, Sami Valimaki (Fin) 72 72 73, Joost Luiten (Ned) 73 71 73, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa) 77 68 72, Alvaro Quiros (Spa) 73 73 71, David Drysdale 76 71 70

218 Santiago Tarrio (Spa) 74 73 71, Jason Scrivener (Aus) 73 68 77, Gavin Green (Mal) 74 73 71, Jeff Winther (Den) 74 70 74, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita) 74 72 72, Peter Hanson (Swe) 75 72 71

219 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 74 73 72, Robert MacIntyre 73 74 72, Matthew Southgate 71 75 73

220 Justin Harding (Rsa) 74 73 73, Wilco Nienaber (Rsa) 74 71 75, Soeren Kjeldsen (Den) 70 76 74

221 Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 74 73 74

222 Adrian Otaegui (Spa) 73 72 77

223 Paul Waring 71 74 78, Alexander Levy (Fra) 75 71 77

224 Grant Forrest 74 71 79, Jonathan Caldwell (NIrl) 72 75 77

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