Date: April 19, 2008

Strange fires into contention

Australian Scott Strange has fired himself into contention with a blistering six-under-par round of 66 to be in fourth place after the third round of the Volvo China Open. Strange shot six birdies – including four in the last five holes – to shoot up the leaderboard and move to six-under overall for the tournament. “It was a good round today,” he said. “It is always nice to birdie the last but there were a few holes on the back nine which I was really lucky to pull off birdies.” One shot behind Strange is New Zealander Mark Brown, while another Australian, David Brandson is one of many a further two strokes back in a tie for ninth place. Damien McGrane will take a three stroke lead into the final round after carding a four-under-par 68 today. The Irishman had started the day a shot behind overnight leader Michael Lorenzo-Vera but some impressive putting, particularly on the back nine, put him in a solid position to claim his maiden European Tour victory. McGrane made a great start when he carded three successive birdies from the third but then sunk bogey putts on the next two holes. He added two more birdies on the 10th and 11th and though he dropped a shot on the 16th he recovered to finish his round strongly with two birdies. “I made the most of my opportunites again today,” said McGrane. “I made a good finish with two birdies and that was the highlight of my day. I hung in there when I needed to and played some good shots.” Oliver Wilson put himself in contention with a two-under-par 70 and is three shots behind McGrane alongside Lorenzo-Vera. The 27-year-old from Mansfield carded a birdie on the par-four first before adding another on the third. Lorenzo-Vera, meanwhile, was unable to take the clubhouse lead for the third successive day after his worst round of the week. The Frenchman, who topped the Challenge Tour last season, recorded scores in the 60s in the last two rounds but could only manage a level-par 72 today. Lorenzo-Vera bogeyed the par-four second and though he birded on the 12th and 13th he again carded another bogey on the par-four 14th. Defending champion Markus Brier is four under overall after carding a level par 72 while Richard Finch, who had started the day with a share of second place, dropped down the leaderboard following a four over 76.