x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Castano has title in sight but pines for missing dog

Retief Goosen, the overnight leader, found himself usurped by Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain on a steamy third day in Scotland.

A steamy third day at the Barclays Scottish Open was reflected by some searing scores. Retief Goosen, the overnight leader, found himself usurped by Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain despite the double US Open winner from South Africa posting a two-under par 69 in the third round. Castano shot a seven-under par 64 to assume the outright lead at 14 under. Goosen and Germany's Martin Kaymer, a man chasing back-to-back wins after his success at the French Open, were one stroke behind.

Castano concluded his day in somewhat barmy fashion by airing a plea to the people of Marbella in Spain to find his missing pet dog after his wife called him to report the loss at the start of the round. Asked if he would take a victory over his missing dog, he said: "Believe it or not I'm going to say, find the dog. I got some bad news [from home] before my round and have to say I was thinking about something else other than golf," he said.

Castano has four European Tour wins to his name and his form here is hardly dog-eared. "I can't think of a better place in the world to play golf when the weather is like this," he said. "I think it was the best I have struck the ball out there," the Spaniard said. Goosen enhanced his prospects with a birdie on Loch Lomond's par-3 17th hole, but this is a tournament in which at least a dozen players, including major winners Ernie Els and Geoff Ogilvy on eight under, can retain more than a passing interest.

The Australian Adam Scott started the day badly with a bogey five on the par-four second hole, and wound up on seven under after a two-over par 73. The biggest mover of the day seemed to be England's Lee Westwood, who went from two over after a first-round 73 to 10 under par in signing for rounds of 66 and 64. Nine birdies and two bogeys tells the story of a man in form ahead of the British Open at Turnberry.