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Barham on course for wire-to-wire win in Austria

  • Story Highlights
  • Benn Barham takes a three-shot lead into final round of the Austrian Open
  • Englishman cards four-under-par 67 in third round, having led by two at halfway
  • The world No. 570 seeking to save tour card with maiden European Tour win
  • World No. 42 Soren Hansen, highest-ranked player in field, is second after a 65
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(CNN) -- Benn Barham will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Austrian Open as he seeks the maiden European Tour victory that will guarantee his playing rights for next season.

Benn Barham is seeking to become the sixth player to win wire-to-wire at the Austrian Open.

Benn Barham is seeking to become the sixth player to win wire-to-wire at the Austrian Open.

The 33-year-old Englishman is 175th on the money list, and even an runner-up finish will put him just outside the 115 players who retain their tour cards.

But he will have higher hopes than that in Vienna as he seeks to become the sixth player to win the tournament -- which carries only a one-year exemption for the champion rather than the usual three -- having led from the first round.

Barham extended his advantage on Saturday with a four-under-par 67 as he birdied the 18th hole for the third day in a row.

"It was the way you want to play every week: hit fairways, hit greens and hole a few putts," Barham said. "We all want that and if you could bottle these feelings and shots you would be onto something.

"It makes you wonder sometimes what you have been doing the last seven months. But you learn and it makes you stronger."

Barham had led by one shot after a first-round 63, and then by two at the halfway stage as he equaled the lowest 36-hole total of the European Tour this season with his total of 129.

He picked up a shot at his first hole on Saturday, but then a double-bogey five at the seventh represented his first dropped shots since his five at the par-four 10th in Thursday's opening round.

Barham bounced back with birdies at nine, 10, 13 and 15 before closing in style to establish a handy buffer over the highest-ranked player in the field, Soren Hansen, who moved up to second place with a flawless, seven-birdie 65.

The Danish world No. 42 also closed with a birdie to be on 14-under 199, one stroke ahead of Australian Richard Green, who dropped back with a 69 with a round that featured four birdies and two bogeys.

"Hopefully I can go out tomorrow and produce the same sort of golf," Hansen said. "There is the potential for a low score out there and I will have to go out and play very good golf."

South African Luis Oosthuizen matched Hansen's score as he leapt up to fourth place on 12-under, carding eight birdies and dropping two shots in his third round at the Fontana course.

England's Richard Bland also carded 65 in a mixed round which included an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys to leave him tied for fifth on 10-under with Australian Brett Rumford, who carded three birdies and 15 pars in his 68.

Two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal, who accepted a late invitation, was among those who missed the halfway cut, with the Spaniard signing for scores of 70 and 72

All About Benn BarhamSoren HansenBrett RumfordJose Maria OlazabalPGA European Tour ResultsGolf

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