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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 April, 2005, 00:56 GMT 01:56 UK
Bjorn carries European challenge
Thomas Bjorn
Thomas Bjorn played himself into what could be a three-way clash for the Masters on the final day at Augusta.

The 35-year-old climbed to eight under after nine third-round holes when bad light stopped play, leaving him five adrift of leader Chris DiMarco.

He also trailed triple champion Tiger Woods by one shot with four strokes back to the chasing pack.

"I've got guys around me making it happen and this is where I want to be. I'm happy with my golf," said Bjorn.

Looking ahead to Sunday, Bjorn added: "You can't focus on anyone but yourself.

"If Chris DiMarco keeps playing the way he is, he is going to be very difficult to catch.

"And Tiger is Tiger. When he gets on these kind of runs, you never know what's going to happen.

"It's nice to see your name there, but there's still 27 holes to go."

I've learnt to enjoy these opportunities when they come along
Thomas Bjorn

Bjorn shot a second-round 67, including two eagles, to climb to within four shots of DiMarco's lead at halfway.

And he ended the day with a real chance of bagging Europe's first major since Paul Lawrie's Open victory at Carnoustie in 1999.

Starting on six under, and playing in the final group with DiMarco, he edged to eight under with three birdies and one bogey.

Last year, an out-of-sorts Bjorn shot 80-77 to miss the cut but he is now well placed to make amends for his meltdown at the 2003 Open when he squandered victory from three ahead with four to play.

"It's not that easy when you are out in the last few groups because the tension gets up," he said.

"But I've learnt to enjoy these opportunities when they come along. This is the finest tournament in the world."

England's Luke Donald was the next best-placed European on three under.

The co-overnight leader, with DiMarco and countryman David Howell, slumped to a second-round 77 when play resumed on Saturday morning.

But he hit back with a birdie blitz to get to four under for the day through 15 holes.

Fellow Masters debutant Howell, playing with Woods after finishing his second round on three under, double-bogeyed his first hole and dropped another shot on the third.

But he steadied himself with three pars and then pouched birdies at seven and eight to climb back to two under.

The rest of Europe's challenge, which was looking healthy before the rain intervened on Friday, faltered on Saturday.

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke made a mini charge but was coming from a long way back as he reached one over after making the cut at four over with no room to spare.

England's Ian Poulter carded 12 straight pars after starting from the 10th before a shank led to a double bogey on the fourth, his 14th.

But he bounced back with two birdies to get back to two over with two holes left.

Of the rest, Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez ended on three over after 11, while former champion Bernhard Langer of Germany was four over through 10.



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