Fichardt builds solid advantage

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Darren Fichardt will take a five-shot lead into the final round of the Saint-Omer Open after another impressive showing.

Darren Fichardt will take a five-shot lead into the final round of the Saint-Omer Open after another impressive showing on Saturday.

The South African carded a two-under-par, which included five straight birdies on the front nine and three bogeys on the back, to finish with a seven-under 206.

The 37-year-old sank birdies from holes five to nine, but then lost his way a bit as the windy conditions started to take its toll.

“I knew it would be a hectic day when we started,” he said on www.europeantour.com.

“But it turned out to be absolutely brutal.

“The string of birdies on the front nine helped separate me from the rest of the field and it was just a question of hanging on on the back nine.

“The back nine was something else. I was having to smash drives just to reach the fairway. I definitely needed all my experience and patience today.”

Fichardt, who won the 2001 Sao Paulo Brazil Open and the 2003 Qatar Masters, believes his previous success on the European Tour will be vital on the final day.

“It has been quite a few years since I won on The European Tour, but I’ve won a couple of titles in South Africa in the last couple of seasons. I know what it takes to get the job done and it’s all good experience,” he said.

Simon Wakefield from England carded a one-over 72 to move into second place while his compatriot Gary Lockerbie, Mark Tullo of Chile and Wi Besseling of the Netherlands are tied for third on level par.

Wakefield had two birdies and three bogeys on his scorecard while Lockerbie sank six birdies, but spoiled things with double bogeys on the fourth and 17th.

Sihwan Kim, who started the day with a one-shot lead, endured a nightmare day.

The South Korean carded a round of 81 as four bogeys and three double bogeys proved his undoing.

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