Despite Bizarre Finish Campbell Leads


European TourPARIS -- New Zealand's Michael Campbell recovered nicely from a bizarre 17th hole on Saturday, making a long birdie putt at the 18th to take the lead heading into the final round at the French Open.
Campbell played two balls at the par-4 17th -- one provisional -- after a woman on the concourse kicked his errant tee shot back inbounds while walking in front of a concession tent, though television replays clearly indicated she had not done so on purpose.
(The errant tee shot had come only after Campbell hit out of bounds on his first try.)
Holding a three-shot lead when the hole began, Campbell ended with a triple- bogey-7 playing one ball and a quintuple-bogey-9 playing the other.
In the end his seven counted -- officials having correctly decided the woman didn't interfere on purpose -- dropping him to minus-9 and into a tie with second-round leader John Bickerton.
Campbell then rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt at the 18th to regain the lead and finish off a 3-under 68. He stands at 10-under-par 203 for a one-shot lead on Bickerton.
'With all the kerfuffle that went on it seemed to take a lifetime to get it all sorted out,' Campbell said. 'I was glad to put [the 17th] behind me and make the birdie on the last.'
The Englishman Bickerton carded an even-par 71, picking up just one birdie at the first hole and ending the day at 9-under-par 204.
Anders Hansen of Denmark shot a 68 to climb from a tie for 15th place overnight into a tie for third. He stands alongside Welshman Bradley Dredge (71) at 7-under-par 206 at Le Golf National's Albatross Course.
Looking to score another title after posting two big wins in 2005 -- at the U.S. Open and the HSBC World Match Play Championship -- Campbell made eight birdies in his third round.
His only hiccup outside the 17th was a double-bogey at the par-4 seventh, where he hit out of bounds.
Campbell's copious birdies were enough to avoid calamity, however, and he was able to overcome Bickerton for the lead with a strong stretch of holes.
Three straight birdies from the ninth placed him in a tie for the lead, and Campbell added birdies at 14 and 16 after that. With Bickerton having bogeyed the 14th moments earlier, Campbell held a three-shot lead after his 8-foot birdie putt at the par-3 16th.
Then came the freak show at the 17th, and his recovery at the 18th.
'I'm disappointed I didn't run away with it,' said Campbell, who owns eight European Tour titles, 'but I had eight birdies apart from the couple of loose shots and I'm playing some wonderful golf otherwise.'
Soren Kjeldsen fired the round of the day with a 5-under 66 and shares fifth place with Marcus Fraser, David Park, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson at 6-under-par 207.
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