Otto shoots 63, takes four-shot lead at Italian Open

Updated: May 10, 2008, 12:51 PM ET

MILAN, Italy -- Hennie Otto of South Africa birdied the last three holes to snare a four-stroke lead after three rounds of the Italian Open on Saturday.

Otto shot a 9-under-par 63 to end the round at 22-under-par on the Castello di Tolcinasco course.

Otto began the third round two strokes behind Sweden's Robert Karlsson and soon found himself three shots back, when Karlsson eagled the first hole with Otto managing a birdie.

But after both players bogeyed the second and Karlsson then also bogeyed the third, Otto went into lead with three birdies in succession from the third hole.

Otto then distanced himself from Karlsson with five birdies, sinking the last from 30 feet.

"I made a few more putts today and hit them much closer and that's why I finished a lot more under par," said Otto.

Otto has tasted success on the Southern Africa Tour but is still looking for a first European Tour victory. He lost in a playoff to Scotland's Alastair Forsyth in March's Madeira Islands Open.

"I am not going to be thinking about what happened in Maderia and I will just take it as another day and whoever played the best tomorrow will win," added Otto.

"I am leading by four shots so all I will be doing is playing my own game."

Karlsson, a seven-time winner on the European Tour, set a new Milan course record with an 11-under par 61 on Friday. But he failed to tap into that dominating form on day three.

"I'm not really disappointed and it's just that I didn't really play very well," he said.

Joining Karlsson tied in second place at 18-under par is fellow Swede Christian Nilsson (64) and Spain's Alvaro Velasco (64).