Golf: Alert Els is poised

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The Independent Online
MIGUEL ANGEL JIMENEZ, after scoring 67, including an eagle and six birdies, in the third round yesterday, takes a two-stroke lead into the final round of the Heineken Dutch Open at Hilversum today.

The overnight leader Peter Mitchell dropped back into second place with South Africa's Ernie Els and the former Ryder Cup player from the Midlands David Gilford sharing third place on 12 under, four behind.

Els, climbing the leaderboard from 11th on Friday, produced the shot of the day. Having driven into a small bush on the eighth he decided to go for the flag, even though a 60- foot high tree was directly in front of him. The ball cleared the tree and stopped three feet from the hole for one of five birdies in a round of 68. 'I took a chance, but I thought the shot was on,' he said. 'It turned out to be the most satisfying one I've hit this week.'

Jimenez's worst moment came on the long 12th. He took out a three-wood for his second shot, but hit the ground three inches behind the ball and saw it go into the trees. The hole cost him a bogey six, but the former caddie hit back with three birdies, holing from 10 feet on the 13th, seven feet at the 17th and coming out of a bunker to three feet on the last.

Colin Montgomerie's 73 left the defending champion six strokes behind Jimenez. 'I played awful, got very unlucky and didn't hole a putt,' he said. 'The greens were spiking up terribly.'

Gilford seemed to be coping well with the greens, the heat, the bouncy ground and the tricky wind until he came to the 14th. Although he had moved into a one-shot lead at that point, he was still looking for his first bogey in the tournament, but he drove into the trees, had to chip out and then went over the green for a

double-bogey six.

'It's difficult to keep concentrating when it's as hot as this,' he said. 'Apart from that hole I played well.'