Park Clings to Slim Lead in Spain

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CANARY ISLANDS -- David Park stumbled to a 1-over 71 Saturday, but held onto the lead through three rounds of the Canarias Open de Espaa. Park completed 54 holes at 10-under-par 200, one shot clear of Ricardo Gonzalez.
 
Christian Cevaer posted a 1-under 69 to join Peter Hedblom (68) in a tie for third place at 8-under-par 202. Bradley Dredge is one stroke further back at minus-7.
 
Battling breezy conditions on Saturday, Park opened with six consecutive pars to remain at 11 under. However, he faltered to a double bogey at the par-3 seventh at Fuerteventura Golf Club after finding water off the tee.
 
Park settled down to run off three pars in a row. He picked up his first birdie of the round at the par-4 11th.
 
The Welshman stumbled to a bogey at the very next hole to slip back to minus-9. Park fought back with a birdie at the 16th before closing with a pair of pars to maintain a one-stroke lead heading to the final round.
 
'I struggled a little bit out there today,' Park stated. 'To be honest, I hit the ball okay but I just struggled with the putting a little bit. Had the lines okay all day but I couldn't get the pace and kept leaving things short. But I was pleased the way I stuck in there after what happened at the seventh. I would have liked to have made a few more birdies, but it was a good performance on the back nine and a good score overall.'
 
Park takes a lead into the final round for the fifth time in his career. He won just one of those previous four, the 1999 European Grand Prix, by one stroke over David Carter and Retief Goosen.
 
Gonzalez flew up the leaderboard with a pair of eagles and two birdies. He chipped in for eagle from the back of the green at the par-4 sixth after driving his tee ball through the green at the 401-yard hole.
 
The Argentine rolled home a birdie at the ninth to get to minus-6 and sank another birdie try at the par-4 14th. Gonzalez jumped into second place with an eagle on the par-5 17th that capped a bogey-free round of 64.
 
'I am feeling very confident with my driver and as a result I am managing to keep it on the fairway a bit better this week than last which is giving me a chance to birdie,' said Gonzalez. 'There are a few short par-4s as well here which are good for me. Although my driving was good, I think my putting was my best feature today. I tried to concentrate hard over every shot and tried to make birdie or eagle whenever I possibly could.'
 
Gonzalez, who won the Open de Sevilla last week, will look to become the first European Tour player to win back-to-back events since Vijay Singh won the Carlsberg Malaysian Open and Caltex Singapore Masters in successive weeks in February of 2001.
 
'I have a good chance now,' said Gonzalez of his chances at winning two straight events. 'Tomorrow I need to go out and concentrate again and we will see what happens.'
 
Klas Eriksson used a 3-under 67 to move into sixth place at 6-under-par 204. Marcus Fraser, Gregory Havret and Santiago Luna are one stroke further back at minus-five after each posted rounds of 1-under 69.
 
Diego Borrego posted a 4-under 66 to jump into a share of 10th place at 4-under-par 206. He is joined there by Nicolas Colsaerts, Jose Manuel Lara, Rob Rashell, Jean-Francois Remesy and Charl Schwartzel.
 
Related Links:
  • TGC Airtimes
  • Leaderboard - The Canarias Open de Espana
  • Full Coverage - The Canarias Open de Espana