Hansen’s late surge propels him to lead

He has a two-stroke advantage at the European Open.

STRAFFAN, Ireland (AP) — Soren Hansen of Denmark birdied four of the last five holes to shoot a 7-under 63 Saturday for a two-stroke lead in the third round of the European Open.

The 33-year-old Dane, who finished second at last week’s French Open, missed a 3-footer at the 13th and birdied from 10 and 15 feet at the 14th and 16th. At the 17th and 18th, both par 3s, he sank putts of 40 and 12 feet.

Hansen has a 10-under 200 total, two strokes ahead of Robert Rock, who shot 66 on Saturday.

Peter O’Malley, who also shot 63, was another stroke behind and tied for third with Peter Hanson (66), Gregory Havret (68) and Niclas Fasth (70).

Hansen won the Irish Open in 2002 but has not won since.

“I have been close but I just think it is getting harder to win tournaments as time goes on,” he said. “I have come off a terrible season but now I am playing good golf and putting myself in contention.”

Bad finish

He also led after three rounds at the French Open last week but made two double bogeys in the first six holes of the final round and needed a birdie at the last to take second place.

Hanson made a hole-in-one on the 173-yard 18th with a 6-iron. That hole is normally a par-5, but was reduced to a par-3 this week because of waterlogging after heavy rain.

“It’s always nice to make a hole-in-one on a par-5,” Hanson said.

Pelle Edberg, who led after the second round, had two double bogeys on the back nine for a 73, and slipped to a share of 14th place.

Colin Montgomerie, who shot 64 on Friday, bogeyed the last two holes for a 71 and was tied for seventh.

U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera shot a quadruple-bogey 8 at the 4th hole after finding water twice and his 74 left him in 65th place among the 68 players in the tournament.

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