Harrington storms into share of Czech Masters lead

Prague (AFP) –


Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington rolled back the years with a majestic third-round 65 on Saturday to claim a share of the lead ahead of the final day of the Czech Masters.

The 46-year-old Irishman, who has only won one European Tour title since lifting the 2008 PGA Championship trophy, carded seven birdies in a bogey-free day to sit atop the leaderboard alongside Italian Andrea Pavan on 17-under par for the tournament.

Belgian Thomas Pieters, who is looking to press his claims for a Ryder Cup place, struggled to a 71 to slip six shots off the pace, alongside Eddie Pepperell -- the only player in the field who can push himself into the European team's automatic qualification spots with a win this week.

Overnight leader Gavin Green is now alone in third place, three shots back, after the Malaysian settled for a two-under 70.

Harrington, who also won back-to-back British Open titles from 2007-2008, has dropped to 346 in the world rankings and is only 204th in the European Tour's Race to Dubai this year.

But he has only made one bogey all week, and will head into Sunday's final round looking for a 16th European Tour victory.