Date: September 23, 2007

Foster stutters as Aussies fall off the pace

England&aposs Mark Foster threw the Quinn British Masters at The Belfry wide open tonight by finishing his third round with a double bogey six. Four clear of the field on the tee, the 32-year-old from Nottinghamshire hit an awful second shot into the lake short of the green, then saw his pitch spin off the putting surface. Foster did well to get down in two from there, but he had given the six players in joint second place a massive boost in the race for the title. Marcus Fraser is the best-placed Aussie despite a disappointing 72 and now sits eight shots behind Foster on two under with one round to go. Peter O&aposMalley is at two over after a 73, while Andrew Tampion had a day he&aposd rather forget with a 76 taking him to five over for the tournament. Lee Westwood, also from Worksop, Ian Poulter, France&aposs Gregory Bourdy and Swedish trio Niclas Fasth, Martin Erlandsson and Fredrik Andersson Hed are the sextet closest to him. Colin Montgomerie would have been on the eight under par mark as well but for bogeys at the 16th and 18th. His only Tour victory was in a six-man play-off in South Africa four years ago and it could end up that way again. Poulter looked as if he might have blown his hopes of winning a week before his wedding when he double-bogeyed the sixth and eighth, but the former Ryder Cup player came home in 32 with birdies on the 10th, 12th, 14th and 17th. On the sixth he pushed his drive into water and two holes later he went from a fairway bunker into the hazard short of the green. Poulter was four behind at that point and could not stop a big smile coming on his face after discovering his deficit had been slashed right at the end. Westwood double-bogeyed the ninth, but had a hat-trick of birdies from the 15th to match Poulter&aposs 70. Montgomerie had the same score and that was for the third day running for the eight-time European number one. However, his abiding memory of the round will be of going over the green on the 16th and not getting up and down, then taking another bogey five at the last after pulling his second into sand. Earlier 18-year-old Rory McIlroy, playing his first event as a professional, showed how ambitious and confident he is after a 70 lifted him from 57th to 41st. Meanwhile, the absent Soren Hansen looks a safe bet to take one of the last spots in the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth in three weeks&apos time. Two places in the 16-man field are available from the European Order of Merit after this event. Swede Henrik Stenson was already sure of one of them, but last week&aposs winner Hansen could have been knocked out by South African Richard Sterne, England&aposs Graeme Storm and France&aposs Gregory Havret. Storm, though, missed the halfway cut, Havret is next-to-last and had to win and Sterne, needing to finish in the top three, is only 20th after a 71. Third Round of the Quinn Direct British Masters, (Par 72): -10 Mark Foster 71 66 69 -8 Fredrik Andersson Hed 67 73 68, Gregory Bourdy 70 73 65, Martin Erlandsson 63 75 70, Niclas Fasth 75 66 67, Ian Poulter 67 71 70, Lee Westwood 68 70 70 -7 Francesco Molinari 68 72 69 -6 Miguel Angel Jimenez 71 69 70, Colin Montgomerie 70 70 70 -5 Michael Campbell (New Zealand) 73 69 69, Robert-Jan Derksen 69 68 74, Raphael Jacquelin 66 76 69, Jarmo Sandelin 65 79 67 also: -2 Marcus Fraser (Australia) 70 72 72 +2 Peter O&aposMalley (Australia) 73 72 73 +5 Andrew Tampion (Australia) 70 75 76