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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 July 2006, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Bjorn & Clarke lead Scottish Open
Thomas Bjorn at Loch Lomond on Saturday
Denmark's Thomas Bjorn has won at Loch Lomond before

-11 D Clarke (NI), T Bjorn (Den)
-9 B Barham (Eng), A Romero (Arg), D Drysdale (Sco), J Donaldson (Wal)

Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn are tied for the lead after three rounds of the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.

Overnight leader Clarke could only manage a scrappy level-par 71, while Bjorn picked up five shots with a 66.

England's Benn Barham shot a sparkling round of 65 to move into a share of third place on nine under par with Andres Romero and David Drysdale.

Jean-Francois Remesy, Damien McGrane, Raphael Jacquelin and Tim Clark are one shot further back.

Northern Ireland's Clarke, who began with a three-stroke lead, had an up and down day with three birdies and three bogeys.

But Bjorn, who won the inaugural Loch Lomond event in 1996, followed Friday's 64 with another excellent display.

"I made good putts at the 16th and 18th, really good putts at the right time," the Dane told BBC Sport.

"It leaves me in a position with a chance and now it's all about Sunday.

"This course has a special place in my heart, it's where I earned my first tour win.

"It's our finest venue on the tour. It has the perfect lay-out and perfect scenery."

Little-known Argentine Andres Romero is nine under after another calm and sunny day, ideal for low scoring.

Romero, no relation to 2002 Scottish Open winner Eduardo, birdied the first, second, sixth and ninth to be out in 32.

And he rescued his round with a birdie at the last after two dropped shots.

With just one qualifying spot for next week's Open available, every shot is vital for those scrambling for a place at Hoylake.

Barham moved into contention with a marvellous round, while Jacquelin matched the Englishman for best score of the day despite dropping shots at the 10th and 11th.

Things also went awry for Colin Montgomerie at the 10th and 11th, with the Scot throwing away three shots with a double-bogey followed by a bogey on his way to a 69 and a tie for 14th place.

There was better news for the host nation in the shape of Drysdale, who also carded a 69 to move within two shots of the leaders.

Defending champion Clark is just one further back and twice former winner Ernie Els enjoyed a welcome return to form.

Without a victory on the European Tour since the Dunhill Championship played in his native South Africa last December, Els strung together six birdies in a four-under 67 for a seven under par total of 206.


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