x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Fraser plods along for a birthday gift

Australian Marcus Fraser will hope to celebrate his 31st birthday with the second European Tour victory of his career.

Australian Marcus Fraser will hope to celebrate his 31st birthday today with the second European Tour victory of his career. Fraser, whose only previous success came in the 2003 Russian Open, moved from five behind into a one-stroke lead with a third-round 70 at the SAS Masters in Malmo yesterday. The longest course in Tour history - the par-73 Barseback measures 7,665 yards - took its toll on overnight leaders Ricardo Gonzalez and Lee Slattery.

The Argentine dropped to fifth place with a four-over-par 77, while Englishman Slattery, one behind at halfway, could do no better than 75. Fraser stands eight under, one in front of Slattery, Swede Martin Erlandsson and Dane Jeppe Huldahl. Fraser was still way off the pace after covering his first eight holes at one over, but then came birdies at the ninth, 11th, 12th and 17th. "Just keep plodding along - that's all the mindset was," he said. "This is a tough course."

Slattery, the first-round leader with a six-under 67, went two in front after 10 holes, but then bogeyed three of the next five. Gonzalez had to wait until the 11th hole for his first birdie and it proved his only one for the day. After dropping three shots before that, further bogeys came on the 16th and 17th. The third member of the group had a tough time too. Scotland's former US amateur champion Richie Ramsay had a round of 77 and fell all the way to 19th on two under.

At the Canadian Open, Mark Calcavecchia birdied nine straight holes yesterday to break the PGA Tour record. Calcavecchia opened the rain- delayed second round with two pars, then reeled off the nine straight birdies to pull within two strokes of leader Jerry Kelly. Calcavecchia, the 1989 British Open champion, broke the record set by Bob Goalby in his 1961 St Petersburg Open victory and matched by five other players, including Kelly, at the 2003 Las Vegas Invitational.

* Agencies