Otto maintains lead in Italy

08/29/2014 4:09 PM

08/30/2014 2:19 PM

Turin, Italy ( - Hennie Otto carded a third-round, 1-under 71 on Saturday and he maintained his lead heading into the final day at the Italian Open.

Otto, who entered the day with a 3-stroke lead over Bernd Wiesberger, finished 54 holes at 16-under-par 200 and he now holds a 2-shot advantage over Richie Ramsay at Circolo Golf Torino.

Seeking his third win on the European Tour, Otto won this event back in 2008. His last victory came at the 2011 South African Open Championship, an event that Otto finished tied for second in earlier this season.

Ramsay fired a solid, bogey-free 66 to vault into second place at 14-under 202. Wiesberger, who shared the first-round lead with Francesco Molinari, also shot a 71 and he remains three shots back at minus-13.

Lee Slattery (67) and Ross Fisher (70) are tied for fourth at 11-under 205, while Stephen Gallacher, the only player who can secure an automatic spot on the European Ryder Cup team this week with a win or second-place finish, shot a 69 and is at minus-10.

Molinari, the 2006 winner at this event, shot a 3-under 69 and he is tied for seventh at 9-under with S.S.P. Chowrasia (66), David Howell (67) and Joost Luiten (70).

Otto's third round was full of ups and downs as he battled a stiff back throughout most of the day. He started on a good note at the first when he rolled in a birdie putt to extend his lead even further. Otto gave that shot back two holes later, however, as he tripped to a bogey on No. 3.

After back-to-back pars, Otto drained another birdie at six to get back into red numbers for the day. Otto lost a lot of momentum as he made a mess of the par-5 ninth and he had to settle for a double-bogey.

Otto got one of those shots back right away with a birdie on 10. He poured in another gain at 12 to get back to minus-1 for his round. Following two more pars, Otto made his fifth birdie on 15, but he tripped to another bogey at 16. He finished his day with back-to-back pars to end at 1-under.

"It was a rough day to be honest," Otto said. "My back started to tighten after eight holes, but I managed to get it round even though I couldn't swing it properly. I got a little lucky at times as well, but you need that in this game if you are going to win a tournament."

Beginning the day seven shots behind Otto, Ramsay coasted out of the gate with two straight pars. He followed with three birdies in four holes from No. 3, with the par coming at No. 5.

Ramsay made the turn with another gain at nine, putting him at 4-under for the round. After another pair of pars, Ramsay drained his fifth birdie at No. 12. He finished things off with five straight pars before making his sixth birdie at the last to end his bogey-free day at 6-under.

Wiesberger had a quiet front nine with just one birdie at No. 8. He played the back nine at even-par, making birdies at 15 and 18 to go along with his first two bogeys of the week at 10 and 16.

Gallacher, who made four birdies and one bogey in his third round, is just happy to have a shot at a first- or second-place finish heading into the final round.

"It keeps me in touching distance," Gallacher said. "The worst thing I could have done was open up a big gap which was insurmountable. I've not done that so a good day on Sunday and I am still right in there. I had about four lip- outs today, but they went in on Friday and I holed a couple of good putts at the end so it evens itself out."

NOTES: Ramsay is a two-time winner on tour, with his last win coming at the 2012 European Masters ... Otto won the 2008 Italian Open at 25-under-par 263 ... Gallacher entered this week 11th in Ryder Cup world points and 12th on the European points list.

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