Golf: Clarke claims lead as Ballesteros battles

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The Independent Online
Severiano Ballesteros, who took a four-shot lead into the third round, struggled to match par yesterday while his playing partner, Darren Clarke, returned a 66 and will take a one-shot advantage over the Spaniard into the final day of the Belgian Open today. Both have personal targets in their sights. Clarke is seeking a first professional tour win, while Ballesteros is desperate to maintain his record of winning at least one tournament every year since 1976. Well as Clarke played it was the Spaniard who attracted the attention with some superb saving shots on the final three holes where pars rescued his round and his hopes of victory. He came out of a green-side bunker to secure a three at the short 16th, played a brilliant seven-iron out of the rough to 12 feet at the next and left a chip dead at the last after finding sand off the tee. Ballesteros was not happy with his game but pleased with his score. 'When I double-bogeyed the sixth and bogeyed the next hole I lost my momentum and my confidence,' he said. 'It was not easy out there in a difficult wind. But I got by.' Clarke had his share of trouble, too. The Ulsterman saved par at the third despite playing from against a tree, got up and down from a bunker at the sixth and found heavy rough at the 13th. France's Jean Van de Velde is a shot behind Ballesteros, with Nick Faldo, Australia's Rodger Davis and Gordon Brand Jnr one stroke further back. Faldo was typically consistent, with three birdies and one bogey in a 69, but had no luck on the greens.