Nicolai Hojgaard takes narrow third-round lead in Italian Open

Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard shot a six-under-par 65 to take a one-stroke lead heading into the final round of the DS Automobiles Italian Open.

Tommy Fleetwood had been tied for first on 13 under until dropping back into a share of second after a bogey on the 17th at the Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome.

Fleetwood signed for a third-round 67 to sit alongside South Africa’s Daniel Van Tonder, who carded a five-under-par 66.

Finland’s Mikko Korhonen was fourth on 11 under while overnight leader Min Woo Lee of Australia dropped back to fifth after an even-par 71 left him at 10 under.

Welshman Oliver Farr was one of three players on nine under and Ross Fisher was in a share of ninth on eight under.

Hojgaard, who began three shots off the lead, enjoyed a blemish-free day after action got under way early due to a poor afternoon weather forecast.

Tommy Fleetwood is firmly in contention
Tommy Fleetwood is firmly in contention (Richard Sellers/PA)

The 20-year-old was steady through the opening four holes before beginning his rise with birdies at the fifth, seventh, 11th and 12th. An eagle at the par-four 16th ensured he would end the day at the head of the field.

“I’m really happy,” said Hojgaard, who is hoping to emulate twin brother Rasmus and become a European Tour winner. “I played overall pretty good.

“I wanted to get up and down on the 18th to post 14 under but I’m really happy with minus 13.

“I would really love to win. Seeing Rasmus win is a big motivation. I’m just trying to follow in his steps a little bit.”

Fleetwood, who is hoping to find some form ahead of the Ryder Cup following a moderate season, picked up five birdies in eight holes from the ninth. For a third day in succession, however, he suffered frustration on his penultimate hole of the day, this time taking four at the par-three 17th.

Van Tonder’s position might also have been better but for a bad finish. The South African carded six birdies but then bogeyed the par-five 18th.