Bjorn opens up three-shot lead in Portugal

Thomas Bjorn tees off during Round 3 of the Estoril Open.

ESTORIL, Portugal – Thomas Bjorn of Denmark shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a three-stroke lead over streaking Richard Green of Australia at the Estoril Open on Saturday.

Green equaled the 16-year-old course record with an 8-under 64 to get to 16 under.

Ireland’s Damien McGrane was in third another two strokes back after a bogey-free 68. Argentina’s Daniel Vancsik (68), and Englishmen Robert Rock (68) and Robert Coles (69) were a shot further back.

The 39-year-old Bjorn has not won since recording his ninth European Tour victory at the Irish Open in 2006.

“I only played so-so at the beginning of my round,” said Bjorn, who made just one birdie in his first eight holes.

“But I hung in, stayed patient, and once I started making birdies they came thick and fast. And the last couple of weeks I have begun to get my self-belief back.

“Sometimes you can lose your way in golf and wonder whether you will ever play well but now I have started to feel great again.”

Green worked his way to the top of the leaderboard during a playing partnership with Wales’ Bradley Dredge.

Green and Dredge began their rounds at 8 under, four shots off the lead, but then picked up 12 shots against par between them in their opening 11 holes. Green had six birdies, while Dredge had five, an eagle from 10-feet on No. 8, and one bogey.

Their paths, however, diverged at the 14th where Dredge hit his first two shots in the rough, then found a greenside bunker. He settled for a triple-bogey seven and finished with a 69 that left him eight shots off the lead.

England’s Chris Wood, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 81, shot a 65 to earn a share of seventh place seven shots behind Bjorn.

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