Pulkkanen pulls ahead in Prague

Round Three Report

Tapio Pulkkanen will take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the D+D REAL Czech Masters as he aims to secure a maiden European Tour title.

The Finn, who was European Challenge Tour Number One in 2017, carded a six under par round of 66 at Albatross Golf Resort to move to 13 under par, two shots clear of Americans Sean Crocker and Johannes Veerman and 2016 Open Champion Henrik Stenson.

After three birdies on his front nine, Pulkkanen shared the lead at the turn but pulled clear with gains at the 11th, 13th and 16th holes. He recovered from a bogey on 17th on the closing hole, firing his approach to three feet and tapping in for his seventh birdie of the day.

Crocker and Veerman are also in search of their first European Tour victories, while Stenson will bid for his 12th title and first win since claiming his maiden Major Championship at Royal Troon five years ago.

Paul Peterson, winner of this event in 2016, makes up the top five on ten under par after his four under round of 68.

Due to the threat of thunderstorms in the Czech capital on Sunday afternoon, the final round of the D+D REAL Czech Masters will be a two-tee start U-draw, beginning at 07:00 local time.

Player Quotes

Tapio Pulkkanen: “It was a solid round – better than the first two. A lot of good putts and a lot of good iron shots. Off the tee I was pretty straight today as well, so I’m happy with that.

“I did everything the same, a little bit of a different wind direction today, that helped on the par fives a little bit, but everything else was the same.

“I won one tournament in Kazakhstan. Winning of course is always difficult. I feel like I could do it tomorrow. I was on top here three years ago, but the wind changed in the middle of the tournament and I didn’t have a good strategy for the other wind direction. I feel like I can play both aggressive and defensive here this week. I feel like I can win here.”

Johannes Veerman: “I got off to a really good start. I made eagle on one and thought ‘oh I’m going to go low’. But a bunch of pars after that and from there was very steady. I’m really happy with how I played today.

“I need a good night’s rest. Most of all, just go out tomorrow. Another day of golf. Stay in the same rhythm, same game plan and have fun.

“Everybody is ready for (the weather). It’s the European Tour, we play in all sorts of weather. Tapio is Finnish and probably plays in a tonne of rain, so he’ll feel at home. It’s going to be a good test tomorrow and fun for sure.”

Henrik Stenson: “I’m pleased with the way I managed my way around the golf course. I’m still battling some things in the swing – I don’t know how visible it is on the outside but I’m certainly feeling it. It’s hard to turn around two or three bad seasons in one week. But I’m positive with the progress and feel like I’ve got a good grip on what we need to do. It’s about doing it more and better and at the same time I’m trying to play golf and do well in this tournament. I think I’m managing my way around the golf course, I’m putting well and good around the greens – avoiding mistakes. The only bogey was the unplayable ball on the sixth hole under the lip – I still consider myself three rounds bogey free.

“It would mean a lot (to win). I haven’t won for about two years, it would be nice to get another win under my belt. On the same note I’m all about the progress that I’m trying to make. I know when I get my golf game in good shape I’ll have chance to win tournaments still. I feel like I’ve got plenty to give. That’s been the frustrating part of not performing in the last couple of years, I’ve not been playing good enough. It doesn’t matter how hungry you are or how well you’re trying to do things if it’s not coming together. We’re making good progress and after three days we’re still at the races.”

Sean Crocker: “Similar to yesterday, I just hit it a lot further from the hole. I think I missed two greens all day and just left myself these awkward 15-40 footers all day. It’s tough because the greens are slower, you’re leaving yourself marking putts from three or five feet. You’ll miss a few of those and I did. That let me down, but I’m still hanging in there.

“That little stretch (after the turn), I didn’t make long putts, I was just tapping some putts in on par fives and I wedged it close a couple of times. Other than that I was off-line a few times, that put me in trouble, and those long putts out there were really tough.”

Scores after Round Three:

203 T PULKKANEN (FIN) 68 69 66,

205 J VEERMAN (USA) 71 66 68, H STENSON (SWE) 67 69 69, S CROCKER (USA) 68 67 70,

206 P PETERSON (USA) 68 70 68,

207 S HORSFIELD (ENG) 68 72 67, P ERIKSSON (SWE) 70 69 68, A MERONK (POL) 68 67 72, S SODERBERG (SWE) 70 64 73,

208 M SIEM (GER) 71 68 69, N H?JGAARD (DEN) 68 71 69,

209 R MCGOWAN (ENG) 70 70 69, J LAGERGREN (SWE) 70 70 69, D PERRIER (FRA) 72 68 69, J KRUYSWIJK (RSA) 69 68 72, D BURMESTER (RSA) 68 69 72,

210 N LEMKE (SWE) 70 72 68, J LUITEN (NED) 71 71 68, S KJELDSEN (DEN) 70 67 73,

211 B POKE (DEN) 73 71 67, M KEYSER (RSA) 75 68 68, S KIM (USA) 71 72 68, D COUPLAND (ENG) 74 69 68, D VAN TONDER (RSA) 69 73 69, M BALDWIN (ENG) 73 69 69, B STONE (RSA) 72 69 70, A COCKERILL (CAN) 69 72 70, P HARRINGTON (IRL) 70 71 70, R MANSELL (ENG) 70 70 71, J KASKE (FIN) 69 71 71, S TILEY (ENG) 70 70 71, T LEE (KOR) 70 69 72, M ANTCLIFF (AUS) 67 70 74,

212 R FOX (NZL) 70 72 70, J RITCHIE (RSA) 70 71 71, C SHINKWIN (ENG) 71 69 72, D YOUNG (SCO) 70 70 72,

213 C SORDET (FRA) 72 72 69, R SABBATINI (SVK) 71 72 70, F MRUZEK (CZE) 72 71 70, J JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 71 71 71, O FISHER (ENG) 70 72 71, R ROUSSEL (FRA) 71 71 71, M SCHMITT (GER) 72 67 74,

214 N KEARNEY (IRL) 76 68 70, J MCLEOD (AUS) 73 69 72, L SLATTERY (ENG) 71 71 72, L VAN MEIJEL (NED) 72 70 72, P ANGLES (ESP) 70 71 73,

215 B EASTON (RSA) 74 70 71, L JOHNSTON (SCO) 73 71 71, M SCHNEIDER (GER) 69 74 72, N VON DELLINGSHAUSEN (GER) 71 71 73, R PARATORE (ITA) 74 68 73,
216 D FICHARDT (RSA) 73 71 72, B HENSON (USA) 72 71 73, O LIESER (CZE) 68 75 73, S KAPUR (IND) 70 70 76,

217 J GEARY (NZL) 73 71 73, B RITTHAMMER (GER) 74 70 73, N BERTASIO (ITA) 71 71 75, Z LOMBARD (RSA) 71 71 75, E CUARTERO BLANCO (ESP) 72 68 77, A PAVAN (ITA) 74 66 77,

218 M ZAPLETAL (CZE) 72 72 74, G STAL (FRA) 70 73 75,

219 J WRISDALE (ENG) 70 73 76, Y CHANG (KOR) 72 71 76,

220 D DIXON (ENG) 75 69 76, D LAWSON (AUS) 71 72 77,

222 G MOYNIHAN (IRL) 71 72 79, A KORINEK (CZE) 74 68 80,

223 A ARNAUS (ESP) 74 70 79,

**
145 A ZEMMER (ITA) 72 73, L DE JAGER (RSA) 72 73, S CHAWRASIA (IND) 70 75, A PENDARIES (FRA) 71 74, S HEISELE (GER) 69 76, C HANNA (USA) 74 71, D WILLETT (ENG) 68 77,

146 S V?LIM?KI (FIN) 72 74, R KARLBERG (SWE) 74 72, G COETZEE (RSA) 77 69, B EVANS (ENG) 72 74, G PORTEOUS (ENG) 74 72, H LEON (CHI) 72 74,

147 B MACPHERSON (AUS) 72 75, L ROBINSON (ENG) 76 71, G BRIXI (CZE) 75 72, J ZUSKA (AM) (CZE) 74 73, A SANDHU (IND) 74 73, T TETAK (AM) (SVK) 73 74,

148 R WATTEL (FRA) 73 75, E DE LA RIVA (ESP) 75 73, J GUERRIER (FRA) 74 74, V NORRMAN (SWE) 71 77, T TREE (ENG) 75 73, R ENOCH (WAL) 75 73,

149 K REITAN (NOR) 77 72, J CAFOUREK (CZE) 73 76, M FEUERSTEIN (USA) 74 75, M POSPISIL (CZE) 71 78, T GANDY (IMN) 72 77, D HOWELL (ENG) 72 77, C PIGEM (ESP) 77 72,

150 G KING (ENG) 79 71, L TINTERA (CZE) 75 75, S MATUS (CZE) 76 74, M BACA (AM) (CZE) 74 76,

151 ? ZACH (CZE) 75 76, M YOUNG (IRL) 76 75, G GREEN (MAS) 74 77, H PORTEOUS (RSA) 72 79,

152 J SANDBORG (SWE) 74 78, J GRENVILLE-WOOD (ENG) 76 76, M JELINEK (AM) (CZE) 77 75, S GARCIA RODRIGUEZ (ESP) 79 73,

153 K STRYCEK (AM) (CZE) 80 73, S YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 76 77,

155 S DANEK (CZE) 76 79, T KOIVISTO (USA) 77 78,

156 J BARES (CZE) 74 82,

161 P MACH (AM) (SVK) 78 83,

171 S VIDA (AM) (SVK) 89 82,

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