The force remains with Forsbrand

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The Independent Online
THE OCEAN of the Costa de la Luz yesterday was likely just as blue when Christopher Columbus set sail on his voyage of discovery a little over 500 years ago.

A calm morning would have had Columbus stuck in port here, but at nearby Islantilla, the conditions were perfect for Anders Forsbrand to bring home riches previously unimagined at the Andalucian Open.

His course-record 64, seven under par, meant the 33-year-old Swede tied with Alexander Cejka for the third-round lead at four under par, two ahead of the Australian Wayne Riley and Switzerland's Paolo Quirici.

Forsbrand, who now lives on the Costa del Sol, had only 11 putts in his outward 29, then protected his score on the potentially disastrous second half. Crucially, he holed a 30-footer at the 14th to save dropping a second successive shot. "I putted very nicely," he said. "The front nine was one of my better performances tee to green, but you still have to hole them."

In Forsbrand's previous two tournaments this year, he has finished fourth and second, a mathematical progression that suggests he will collect his sixth Tour win today. If only golf were so logical. Costantino Rocca, the previous course-record holder with a 65 on Friday, when he led by three, had 11 putts on the back nine, but could not hole anything yesterday. As the sea breeze picked up, Rocca's 78 was the worst score of the day.

Cejka, who 15 years ago fled Czechoslovakia aged nine and is now a German citizen, will have a journey into the unknown today. He will be playing in the final group on the last day for the first time, but knows he has already beaten Forsbrand, in the Alfred Dunhill Cup last October.

England's David Carter and Jon Robson, three and four shots behind Rocca overnight, both fell foul of the 463-yard 13th, recording double-bogey sixes. Carter, the winner of the Tour school last November, moved a stone from the path to the right of the green, not realising it had been designated a hazard, and incurred a two-shot penalty. Robson's second shot came to rest right on the hazard line, prohibiting the removal of twigs on top and beneath his ball.

Jose Maria Olazabal, who has been taking his first tentative steps on the path to the defence of his Masters title next month after an operation to shorten his right big toe, shot an uninspired 70 to remain nine behind the leaders. "The game is coming, step by step," he said.