Ilonen takes up the lead from Manassero

Finn cards a 65 to move ahead of Italian on 18 under, McGrane eight under after a 68

Mikko Ilonen of Finland hits his tee shot on the fourth hole during round three of the Nordea Scandinavian Masters at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club in Stockholm, Sweden. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Mikko Ilonen of Finland hits his tee shot on the fourth hole during round three of the Nordea Scandinavian Masters at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club in Stockholm, Sweden. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

 

Finland’s Mikko Ilonen moved to the top of the Nordea Masters leaderboard with a seven-under-par round of 65 as overnight leader Matteo Manassero slipped to third in Stockholm.

Ilonen carded five birdies and an eagle to move two strokes clear of Sweden’s Alexander Noren in second place, while BMW PGA Championship winner Manassero could only manage a one-under-par round of 71 to leave him tied for third with Jonas Blixt four shots off the pace.

Ilonen was a runner-up in China and Morocco recently and started the day two behind Manassero.

However, he pulled a shot back early on with a birdie on the second hole with a 12 foot putt before further gains at the sixth and ninth edged him ahead of the Italian, who turned in a level par on the front nine after a birdie on the ninth cancelled out a bogey fifth.

Ilonen would end his six-year wait for a third European Tour title if he manages to stay out in front after tomorrow’s final round.

Noren, who won the event in 2011, holed an incredible 80 foot putt on the fourth to claim one of his seven birdies in a round which also saw him claim an eagle on the ninth.

Earlier Bernd Wiesberger powered up the leaderboard with an eight-under-par round of 64 to finish the day in three-way tie for sixth with Thomas Bjorn and Joost Luiten, one stroke behind Rikard Karlberg who was fifth on 12 under par.

A 68 moved Damien McGrane to eight under par, while amateur Alan Dunbar was level par after a 75.

England’s Paul Casey suffered a poor third round of 77 to put him five over for the day and three over par in total. Casey shot five bogeys and one double bogey, with birdies on the seventh and 13th holes scant consolation on a difficult day.

Scotland’s Peter Whiteford and Wales’ Rhys Davies were in that group tied for 11th place on nine under par while Seve Benson and Ross Fisher were the highest place Englishmen ahead of the final round a further two shots back.