Sports

Luiten takes back lead in Wales

City of Newport, Wales (SportsNetwork.com) - Joost Luiten carded a third- round, 6-under 65 on Saturday to claim the lead once again at the Wales Open.

Luiten, who was the first-round leader, finished 54 holes at 14-under-par 199 and he is one shot ahead of second-round leader Shane Lowry. Luiten has three wins on the European Tour, with two of them coming last season.

Lowry, who entered the day with a 1-shot lead over Luiten, is in sole possession of second place at 12-under 201 following a third-round 68. Gregory Havret (66) and Thongchai Jaidee (67) are right behind Lowry at 11-under 202.

After shooting a 63 on Friday, Edoardo Molinari fired a 68 Saturday and he is in fifth place at 10-under 203, while Steve Webster (64), Marc Warren (67) and Tommy Fleetwood (68) are tied at minus-9.

European Ryder Cup team member Jamie Donaldson (68) is at 8-under 205 with eight other players, including Nicolas Colsaerts (71), who began the day in second place.

Luiten started off strong and finished even stronger to take a 2-shot lead on Friday. A birdie on the first had Luiten rolling right out of the gate. He added two more gains on three and five before closing out his front nine with four straight pars.

Luiten made it nine straight pars when he rattled off five more from No. 10 to start the back nine, but it was the final four holes that pushed Luiten into the lead.

After his fourth birdie on No. 15, Luiten made par at the 16th before finishing with back-to-back gains on 17 and 18, propelling him to a 2-shot lead at minus-14 through 54 holes.

"I'm happy with a good score today," Luiten said. "I played solid, consistent, hit a lot of greens and holed some nice putts to start with. I didn't really make a lot in the middle part, but came back strong at the end with three birdies on the last four, and I'm happy."

Lowry had a strong grip on the lead following a fast start. After making par on the first, Lowry made back-to-back birdies on two and three. A pair of pars preceded Lowry's third and final gain of the day on No. 6.

From there it was all routine for Lowry as he made 12 straight pars to finish his round. It was Lowry's second straight bogey-free round and he has gone 37 holes without a dropped shot after making three bogeys on day one.

"I'm right where I want to be for tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it," Lowry stated. "I'm still there. If you had given me this Thursday morning before I stood on the first tee, I would have taken your hand off. I'm where I want to be and I feel like I have a chance tomorrow."

Havret did a lot of his damage on the back nine after making two birdies on the front at five and seven. He started the back nine with back-to-back birdies on 10 and 11 before adding another pair of gains on 14 and 15 to grab a share of the lead. A bogey on the par-4 16th dropped Havret back a shot, however, and he finished his round of 66 with two pars at 17 and 18.

Jaidee also held a share of the lead toward the end of his third round. Jaidee made three birdies on the front nine and two more on the back at 11 and 15, getting him into a tie for the lead at minus-12. Jaidee also tripped to a bogey on 16, however, and he finished with two pars.

NOTES: Luiten won both the Lyoness Open and the KLM Open last season ... In his last two events, Luiten has finished tied for fourth at the Italian Open and tied for fifth at the KLM Open ... Lowry is a two-time winner on tour. His last victory came at the 2012 Portugal Masters. He also won the 2009 Irish Open as an amateur ... Jaidee has six career victories, while Havret has three ... Havret also finished runner-up at the 2010 U.S. Open.