Del Moral leads by 3 in Madeira
Madeira, Portugal (Sports Network) - Carlos Del Moral fired a nine-under 63 on Saturday to grab a three-stroke lead after three rounds of the Madeira Islands Open.
Del Moral, who needed just 20 putts in his third round, completed 54 holes at 17-under-par 199.
"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," said Del Moral. "And the ones that I missed hardly missed at all, they were so close to going in. My putting really was outstanding."
Joakim Lagergren carded a two-under 70 to remain in second place at minus-14.
Second-round leader Oliver Wilson managed an even-par 72 to slide into a share of third place at 13-under-par 203. He stands alongside Mikael Lundberg (64), Magnus A. Carlsson (71) and Ricardo Santos (68) at Santo da Serra Golf Club.
Del Moral, who missed the cut in five of his previous 11 starts this year, started the round five strokes behind the leaders, but used an outstanding front nine to erase that deficit.
The Spaniard got going with birdies on the second and fourth to move to 10- under. He converted a birdie chance on the sixth and followed with his second birdie in two days on No. 7.
Del Moral kept rolling with a birdie at the eighth and his fourth consecutive birdie on the ninth gave him the lead at 14-under. He was one stroke clear at the time and remained there as he parred the first six holes of the back nine.
The 26-year-old, who is searching for his first European Tour title, birdied the par-five 16th for the third straight round to start to pull away.
Del Moral followed with birdies on 17 and 18 to head to the clubhouse at minus-17.
"I'm really glad to be in this position and 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," stated Del Moral.
Lagergren, who was in the final threesome on Saturday, birdied two of the last three holes to close the gap to three shots.
The Swede was one-over on his front nine with two bogeys and a birdie on the sixth. Lagergren got back to even-par for his round with his third birdie in three days on No. 11. His late rally will keep him in the final group again on Sunday.
"I didn't play very well on the front nine. I was a little nervous on the first tee, but that soon went away," admitted the 20-year-old Lagergren. "Luckily, I managed to play a lot better on the back nine. I was three-under and it could have been a lot more. My putter was ice cold and I missed a few short ones."
NOTES: Del Moral, who has two Challenge Tour wins to his name, missed the tournament's 54-hole scoring record by a single stroke...Lundberg is the only player in the top 11 on the leaderboard that has won on the European Tour, and his two wins were both at the Russian Open.
05/12 13:23:51 ET