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
"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