Fitzpatrick opens up dominant lead in Stockholm


Matt Fitzpatrick has a second European Tour title within his grasp after opening up a five-shot lead at the Scandinavian Masters on Saturday.

Fitzpatrick dropped just his second shot of the week to fall behind Nicolas Colsaerts, who birdied the eighth to take a one-stroke lead, but responded in some style, making gains at five of the next seven holes to surge clear again. 

Colsaerts ought to have got closer to the Englishman, but he struggled on the back nine as Fitzpatrick hit his stride.

"I'm obviously delighted," Fitzpatrick said. "It was a bit of a slow start, and I find the front nine more difficult than the back nine, especially in the wind.

"But I stayed patient and got my rewards in the end. It's one of the things I've learned since turning pro.

"The greens are pristine and the way I've putted on them, it won't surprise you to learn I'm a big fan of them. I wish we could putt on them every week."

Reigning champion Alex Noren shot 67 to join Colsaerts in a tie for second on 10 under and put himself in a strong position to qualify for The Open - which he will guarantee with a fifth-place finish.

The day's best round belonged to Lasse Jensen, who registered a second successive flawless round with six birdies to move up to fourth with a 66.

Andrew Johnston, Alexander Bjork, Ross Fisher and Scott Henry had all sat level with Colsaerts in tied second after day two, but each shot over-par rounds to drop well away from Fitpatrick's fearsome pace at the Bro Hof Slott Golf Club.

Bjork was especially unlucky, matching Jensen at nine under before finding water at the last to set up a double bogey and take him out of contention.