Fisher closing in on Tshwane Open title

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iol spt mar1 Fisher Getty Images Ross Fisher moved closer to a first European Tour triumph in four years by taking a five-shot lead after three rounds of the Tshwane Open. Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

Ross Fisher moved closer to a first European Tour triumph in four years by taking a five-shot lead Saturday after three rounds of the Tshwane Open.

The 33-year-old English golfer, whose last title was the 2010 Irish Open, fired a 67 at The Els Club Copperleaf west of Highveld city Pretoria.

His see-saw front nine produced five birdies and two bogeys and he claimed another two birdies on the back nine of the 7,281-metre (7,964-yard) layout.

Fisher, a stroke ahead at the halfway stage of the 1.5 million euro ($2.1 million) event, carded a five-under-par 67 to give a 198 total for 54 holes.

Michael Hoey from Northern Ireland, who climbed into contention Friday with seven consecutive back-nine birdies, lies second after a mixed third trek over the longest European Tour course.

Like Fisher, Hoey delivered a mix of birdies (six) and bogeys (three) in the second edition of the Tshwane Open, which South African Dawie van der Walt won last year.

Englishman Simon Dyson, who shared the opening-round lead, and Spaniard Carlos Del Moral lie third on 204, six shots adrift of Fisher.

Dyson could manage only a one-under 71 composed of three birdies, two bogeys and 13 pars over a course designed by South African quadruple Major champion Ernie Els.

Del Moral, seeking his maiden European victory, also had a three birdie-two bogey round of 71 on a day when cloudy weather replaced a sunny opening half of the tournament.

A group of seven golfers on 205 -- seven shots behind Fisher -- includes Italian Edoardo Molinari (70) and Irishman Kevin Phelan (68). – AFP

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