TURIN, June 11, 2011 (AFP) - English veteran Robert Rock carded a third round 68 to move two shots clear in the Italian Open and edge closer to a maiden European Tour title.
The 34-year-old Rock, who has led from the first day, stands at 16 under par for the tournament with a group of six players -- Joost Luiten, Niclas Fasth, Pablo Larrazabal, Jbe Kruger, Gary Boyd and Francesco Molinari -- on 14 under just behind him.
Leading by one shot overnight, Rock birdied the second but gave the shot back with a bogey at the par three fourth.
Consecutive birdies at the eighth and ninth and again at the 12th and 13th saw him pull clear.
"I am confident already because of my putting this week. I haven’t putted like this in a long time," said Rock, who will play in the US Open for the first time next week after comig through qualifying.
"I am really, really happy with the putting now. One more day of that and everything will be all right."
Ryder Cup player Molinari, playing in his home city, had six birdies and two bogeys in a 68 while Sweden's Fasth carded a 64 the best of the day.
"I played well enough and I am in it tomorrow," said the Italian.
"I left at least a couple of shots out there but it’s not easy with the expectation of the crowd. I am happy with the way I played apart from a couple of putts not dropping. Same again tomorrow - it’s a good position to be in."
Leading and selected Italian Open third round scores at the Royal Park club on Saturday (GBR and IRL unless stated, par 72):
200 - Robert Rock 64-68-68
202 - Francesco Molinari (ITA) 66-68-68, Gary Boyd 69-65-68, Joost Luiten (NED) 66-67-69, Jbe Kruger (RSA) 69-66-67, Niclas Fasth (SWE) 69-69-64, Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) 67-70-65
203 - Lee Slattery 71-67-65, Peter Whiteford 68-67-68, Gregory Bourdy (FRA) 66-68-69, Rhys Davies 66-68-69
204 - Chris Wood 64-69-71, Floris De Vries (NED) 71-64-69, Matteo Manassero (ITA) 66-68-70
205 - Jeev Milkha Singh (IND) 69-66-70, Richie Ramsay 67-69-69, David Dixon 70-69-66, Lorenzo Gagli (ITA) 68-66-71, Florian Fritsch (GER) 69-68-68
206 - David Horsey 68-69-69, Phillip Price 70-68-68, Clodomiro Carranza (ARG) 71-69-66, Anthony Wall 67-68-71, Marco Ruiz (PAR) 72-67-67, Stephen Dodd 67-70-69, Andrea Pavan (ITA) 68-72-66, Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN) 65-71-70, Michael Jonzon (SWE) 69-68-69, Marcus Fraser (AUS) 71-66-69
207 - George Coetzee (RSA) 70-70-67
209 - Daniel Gaunt (AUS) 69-68-72
210 - Hennie Otto (RSA) 70-69-71, Scott Strange (AUS) 72-68-70, Wade Ormsby (AUS) 71-69-70
212 - Brett Rumford (AUS) 69-66-77, Darren Clarke 71-66-75
214 - Michiel Bothma (RSA) 69-71-74
215 - Thomas Bjorn (DEN) 67-72-76