Date: August 17, 2008

O’Malley battling it out

Australian Peter O&aposMalley is eight shots off pace-setter Peter Hanson heading into the final round of the SAS Masters in Stockholm. O&aposMalley replicated his second-round effort of 67 in the third round as he reeled off six birdies and conceded three bogeys to be two-under overall in a share of 26th position. Compatriot Matthew Millar is a stroke further back on one-under in equal 40th spot. Rising to the challenge of playing in front of his home fans, Hanson (10-under) has earned himself a two-stroke lead on the field. But a day that promised so much for English pair Nick Dougherty and Chris Wood did not turn out as well as they hoped. Ryder Cup hopeful Dougherty shared the halfway pace with Hanson – but a level-par 70 dropped him into a five-way share for second with Scot Gary Orr, Dane Soren Kjeldsen and two more Swedish players in Daniel Chopra and Pelle Edberg. Wood, making his professional debut four weeks after his fabulous fifth place in The Open at Royal Birkdale, holed his pitch to the first for an eagle two – and when he turned in a five-under 29, he was only one off the lead. But the back nine brought a double-bogey six on the 12th – and a closing bogey gave him a 68 and left him joint ninth on five-under, five behind. “I can&apost be disappointed, given how I felt,” said the 20-year-old from Bristol. “I had some food poisoning yesterday, was sick in the night and didn&apost sleep much.” “I feel all right now, but I&aposve not eaten anything and didn&apost feel comfortable with my swing.” Hanson, who added a 68 to his two opening 66s, has won only one of 174 European Tour events in his career – but at 24th in the Ryder Cup standings, he cannot quite be ruled out of the equation yet. “I think I&aposve put myself a little bit too far back, but if I win tomorrow I&aposll change my mind about taking next week off,” said the 30-year-old, whose only victory was the 2005 Spanish Open. “I want to give myself every chance.” “Of course you can feel pressure playing at home, but I think it&aposs more inspirational.” He bogeyed the third, while Dougherty birdied it – but came back with birdies on the fifth, seventh and 16th. The last of them was the decisive one of the round, Dougherty missing the green and then failing to sink his three-foot par putt. The 26-year-old Liverpudlian, 15th in the cup race, said: “Both my wins have come from the front, but I will take where I am right now.” “It&aposs just lovely to be in contention going into the final round.” Following the death of his mother after a heart attack in April, he has not had a top-50 finish in his last seven starts. “Not a lot went for me out there,” he added. “I thought I played better than level-par, but missed everything in the 15-foot range – and you need to make a few of those to shoot a good score.” “The wind was in the opposite direction, though, and it took a little bit of adapting to.” Orr&aposs season began with him uncertain of his Tour future following back trouble last year, but now the 41-year-old has an opportunity to add to his Portuguese Open and British Masters successes in 2000. “I&aposve not been playing too badly, but I&aposve just not been putting it all together,” he commented, after a 67 including a hat-trick of birdies form the third. “I worked hard on my short game while on holiday in the south of France last year, getting up early before it got too hot.” Kjeldsen is 16th on the points table and, like Dougherty, would be right on the fringe of the top 10 if he triumphs. German Martin Kaymer, currently 11th, needs a top-12 finish to move back into an automatic qualification spot with only two more tournaments to come and after a 68 is joint 20th on three-under. Chopra won on the US Tour in January and could yet force himself back into the picture too. Third Round of the SAS Masters (Par 70): -10: Peter Hanson 66 66 68 -8: Daniel Chopra 71 64 67, Nick Dougherty 66 66 70, Pelle Edberg 69 67 66, Soren Kjeldsen 69 65 68, Gary Orr 67 68 67 -6: Patrick Sjoland 68 66 70, Sam Walker 72 68 64 -5: Paul Broadhurst 67 68 70, Ignacio Garrido 69 70 66, Andreas Hogberg 70 67 68, Ross McGowan 70 70 65, Chris Wood 70 67 68 -4: Robert Dinwiddie 69 69 68, Bradley Dredge 71 69 66, Oliver Fisher 69 69 68, Raphael Jacquelin 73 68 65, Paul McGinley 69 70 67, Fabrizio Zanotti 74 67 65 Also: -2: Peter O&aposMalley (Australia) 74 67 67 -1: Matthew Millar (Australia) 71 67 71 +5: Gareth Paddison (New Zealand) 68 72 75