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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 November 2007, 16:33 GMT
Rose maintains lead in Merit hunt
Justin Rose
Rose overcame a nightmare start

(GB & Ire unless stated)
-4 J Rose
Even P Harrington, S Dyson
+3 C Montgomerie, I Poulter, M Kaymer (Ger), S Kjeldsen (Den)
Selected others
+4 G McDowell
+5 P McGinley

Justin Rose is on course to claim the European Order of Merit crown despite a rollercoaster day at the Volvo Masters.

He held a four-stroke advantage over title challenger Padraig Harrington at the start of play in Valderrama.

But that lead was wiped out after just two holes, with Rose dropping three shots and playing partner Harrington making a birdie at the first.

Rose repaired the damage with birdies on the eighth, 10th and 11th as he ended the day four shots ahead again.

I said yesterday that a four-shot lead at halfway is nothing to get excited about and I proved it

Justin Rose

"I was a little bit shell-shocked after the start," said the 27-year-old Englishman.

"It was certainly not what the doctor ordered, but on the third tee I told myself I was still leading.

"I said yesterday that a four-shot lead at halfway is nothing to get excited about and I proved it.

"But I survived today. It was a great day to get round in level par and maintain a four-shot lead."

Rose and Harrington, who is defending the Order of Merit title he won for the first time here last year, both carded par 71s.

But German rookie Martin Kaymer had the best round of the tournament, firing a five-under-par 66 to move up into a share of fourth place with Colin Montgomerie, Ian Poulter and Soren Kjeldsen.


Five players were in with a chance of winning the Merit title at the start of the tournament.

South African Ernie Els, who currently heads the standings, is playing in Singapore, leaving Rose, Harrington, Niclas Fasth and Henrik Stenson to battle it out for top spot.

But with Swedish duo Fasth and Stenson ending day three well out of contention, it looks to be a straight fight between Rose and Harrington.

Harrington says Rose is the man in command.

"I can't now get away with having a bad day, whereas he can still win not having a good day," he said. "It's kind of in his hands tomorrow."

Whoever finishes higher up the leaderboard will take the title, although Els would claim it if both players suffer a dramatic slide in Sunday's final round.

Iain Carter's column
11 Oct 07 |  Golf


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