Scottish Open: Matthew Fitzpatrick hoping changing wind direction will test leaders | Golf News

Last Updated: 14/07/18 6:12pm

Matthew Fitzpatrick has won four European Tour events

Matthew Fitzpatrick has won four European Tour events

Matthew Fitzpatrick is hopeful the wind will test the late starters at the Scottish Open, after an impressive third round of 64 saw the Englishman play himself into contention.

The 23-year-old birdied four of the opening five holes before picking up shots on the 10th and 13th to finish 12-under par, a share of the clubhouse lead with Ryan Fox and Scott Hend – with overnight leader Robert Rock having fallen to 11-under par after seven holes, picking up back-to-back bogeys on the sixth and seventh.

With the wind blowing in the opposite direction than over the first two days, the opening stretch is playing far harder than previously, but that means better scoring was possible on the back nine.

“It was a great start, sort of what you’re looking for on a Saturday, a day you’re trying to make a move and a good start,” Fitzpatrick said.

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“I think the back nine, the course plays more cross-wind. The front nine is a little more down and into, so that’s obviously got a little tougher.

“The flight on the back nine, it’s a little more accessible because the wind is sort of blowing towards you and, at the same time, you still have to get it in play off the tee.

“Hopefully the wind stays like this and makes it difficult. You never know.”

Ryan Fox has never won a European Tour title

Ryan Fox has never won a European Tour title

New Zealand-born Fox shared the positivity having gone out early and produced a seven-under par round of 63 to move up the field, having been five-under par on Friday.

Three birdies and an eagle in the final six holes gave the 31-year-old a share of the lead, though he was doubtful it would remain that way by the end of the day’s play.

“The wind makes the last four or five holes a lot easier than they were,” Fox said. “Nothing is really playing into the wind after 11, and that’s a brute of a hole, 450 yards into the wind.

“The rest of the back nine is across and slightly helping, especially 16, 17, 18 are pretty good birdie chances today.

“I don’t think it will be leading at the end of the day by any means, but I certainly have a chance, and that’s all you can hope for is a chance going into Sunday.”

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