VILAMOURA, Portugal (AP) — Pablo Martin of Spain shot a 9-under 63 Saturday to take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Portugal Masters.
Martin eagled the third and fifth holes, and added six birdies to finish his round at the Oceanico Victoria Golf Club at 18-under 198.
“Those eagles were a massive boost to my confidence,” Martin said. “It was a little tough out there, but to be 5 under after five holes I had everything right to make sure I had a good score.”
Jeppe Huldahl of Denmark grabbed a share of second after matching Martin Kaymer’s course record with a 61. Huldahl had seven straight birdies from the 11th hole, equaling a European Tour record. He was tied with Oliver Wilson of England, who shot a 65.
Thomas Aiken of South Africa shot a 65 and was at 14 under in a tie for fourth with Mikko Ilonen, who had a 69.
Martin, who won the Dunhill Championship in South Africa on the European Tour in December, was also in contention going into the final round of last year’s Portugal Masters.
“I will try to play better than I did last year,” Martin said. “I was playing with Lee Westwood in the fourth round, who went on to win; and I shot a 77.”
Huldahl, who narrowly made the cut at 4 under, surged into the clubhouse lead after his 61 lowered his previous career-best score on the tour by five shots. But the Dane said he got less aggressive toward the end of the round, even though he had a chance of becoming the first player to shoot a 59 in a European Tour event.
“Thoughts of shooting a 59 did cross my mind on my second shot at 17,” said Huldahl, who had 12 birdies and one bogey. “But I chickened out in the end because the pin at the 17th was in a very tight position and I missed the green left. Also the pin at 18 was very tight. But then there were always other shots to pick up, so I had a lot of good things happening out there.”
Wilson, who made his Ryder Cup debut at Valhalla in 2008, is looking for his first win in six years on the European Tour.
He worked as a radio commentator in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and feels the experience has helped him.
“Working for the radio was good motivation,” Wilson said. “I enjoyed doing it, but I would rather be playing. It was hard work just watching the guys. But now my juices are flowing again.”