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Wed Apr 23 16:05:54 SAST 2014

Campbell enjoys rare day in spotlight

Sapa-AFP | 14 October, 2012 10:550 Comments
Portugal Masters - Day Three
Michael Campbell of New Zealand lines up a putt during the third round of the Portugal Masters at the Victoria golf course at Villamoura on October 13, 2012 in Faro, Portugal
Image by: Stuart Franklin / Getty Images

Former US Open champion Michael Campbell, whose career went into free-fall after his one and only major triumph in 2005, moved into contention on the third day of the Portugal Masters on Saturday.

The New Zealander will go into Sunday’s final day just four shots behind leader Bernd Wiesberger of Austria after firing a third-round 67.

Campbell is now down at 607 in the world rankings, having not had a top-10 finish on the European Tour since 2008. In 2010, he made only one cut in 19 starts.

“It’s seven years since my last win and I was surprised how calm I was out there, but I’ve won enough around the world to know what to do, and I’m pretty excited about Sunday,” said Campbell, who is on nine-under-par 204 for three rounds.

“Over the last three or four years, I’ve put too much pressure on myself to perform. I’ve gone back to basics, and it’s fun once again.” 

Campbell shares third place with Irishman Shane Lowry and England’s Richard Finch, but it could have been better for the Kiwi had he not bogeyed the last hole.

Six birdies in seven holes around the turn helped Wiesberger claim a one-shot lead for the tournament.

The Austrian, already a two-time winner this season, had all his birdies between the eighth and 14th holes in a bogey-free round of 65.

He will start Sunday’s final round on 13 under par, one shot ahead of overnight leader Ross Fisher of England.

“After seven holes I was not thinking about a 65,” admitted Wiesberger.

“I hit some poor wedges early on, but I grinded through that and hit better shots around the turn and into the back nine.” 

Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez, 48, and trying to become the oldest winner in European Tour history, finished with a 30-foot birdie putt for a round of 68, and is five shots off the pace.

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