Santa Cruz, Madeira – Mark Tullo carded a 4-under 68 on Saturday and grabbed a 1-shot lead through three rounds of the Madeira Islands Open.
Craig Lee led Tullo and Peter Uihlein by a single stroke when the suspended second round wrapped up Saturday morning. The trio jostled for position much of the third round before Tullo birdied the par-3 17th at Club de Golf do Santo da Serra to separate himself.
Tullo, who is seeking his first European Tour win, is 12-under 204 through 54 holes, one shot ahead of Lee (70) and Uihlein (69).
"I played really good today," said Tullo. "I had a good back nine and the putter worked pretty well for me."
Morten Orum Madsen jumped seven spots into a share of fourth courtesy of a third-round 67. The Dane is joined at 8-under by Jarmo Sandelin, who carded a 70.
Jose-Filipe Lima (66) and Daniel Im (67) are tied for sixth at 6-under, while Richard Bland (70), Rikard Karlberg (71), Roope Kakko (71) and Chris Paisley (68) are knotted in eighth at minus-5.
Six-time European Tour winner Thomas Levet stumbled to a third-round 75 and dropped into a share of 12th at 4-under.
Defending champion Ricardo Santos, the highest ranked player in the field at world No. 145, made the cut on the line, then shot 69. He sits at 1-under through 54 holes.
Friday's second round was suspended for over an hour due to fog and several players had yet to finish when darkness forced another stoppage. Lee, Tullo and Uihlein were done, however, and when the second round finally concluded, the final group set forth on a tightly-contested third round.
Lee initially fell off the pace with a bogey on the second, but he righted himself with back-to-back gains from the third to jump back into solo first. The 34-year-old maintained a narrow advantage around the turn, but Tullo and Uihlein both notched consecutive birdies from the 11th to pull even at 11- under.
The overnight leader, Lee, parred his last seven holes, leaving Tullo and Uihlein to jostle for position.
Both players went bogey-birdie from the 13th before Tullo grab sole possession of the top spot with a 10-foot birdie make on No. 17.
"I hit 17 greens for the third consecutive day and that's the key on this golf course," he said. "I had one bad drive which resulted in a bogey, but I'm really happy with the way I'm playing, shot-by-shot and day-by-day.
"There will be no different strategy here tomorrow, I just want to hit the same shots and do the same things and we'll see what happens."
NOTES: Tullo recorded two wins on the Challenge Tour in 2010 ... On Friday, Uihlein recorded eight birdies and an eagle through 12 holes en route to a 64 ... Lee is seeking his first European Tour win. He placed 115th place in the 2012 Race to Dubai ... Nine of the past 10 champions at this event have been first-time European Tour winners ... This event is running opposite the World Match Play Championship in Bulgaria.