• Johnnie Walker Championship, 3rd Round

Fleetwood shares Gleneagles lead

ESPN staff
August 24, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Fleetwood is in pole position to win his maiden European Tour title © Getty Images
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Johnnie Walker Championship leaderboard

Tommy Fleetwood carded a final-hole bogey to deny himself the solo lead going into the final round of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, but still remains top of the leaderboard as the young Englishman seeks his first European Tour victory.

Fleetwood carded six birdies and an eagle in his opening 16 holes, but dropped his third shot of the day on the 18th to card a five under par 67 and share top spot with Argentina's Ricardo Gonzalez.

But the 22-year-old was quick to shrug off the late disappointment.

"The last hole does not really mean anything," Fleetwood said. "It's a tough hole and the way I hit my tee shot I did well to make six. I carved it into the trees and was lucky to have a chip out.

"If I hadn't I would have had to go back 100 yards and could have taken anything up to a ten. The way I played the first 17 holes was fantastic.

"I have been up there a bit this year and faltered a bit, so it's nice that I have kept my good golf going for three rounds."

Fleetwood was the youngest winner on the Challenge Tour two season ago, but just scraped keeping his European Tour card courtesy of a first top ten of the year in the final event in South Africa.

"I came off the Challenge Tour feeling I was the best golfer in the world," Fleetwood added. "It felt very easy and I could not do much wrong. Last year I was still working hard but maybe not working on the right things.

"The more you play poorly out here, the easier it is to get into a downward spiral. It was horrible, I didn't know that many people and it was very hard.

"At this tournament last year I'm not sure that I expected to be back on this Tour this season, but I played great the second half of the season and have carried it on.

"This is what you spend hours and hours practising for, to be up there in golf tournaments. I always used to watch this tournament as a kid and I love Scotland. My parents, Sue and Pete, would move here in a heartbeat and we've got a house behind the 12th hole this week so I'll do some practice and walk home."

Gonzalez took a one shot lead into the third round after back-to-back 65s but was only able to manage a 70 on Saturday.

The 42-year-old, whose last European Tour win came in 2009, can be forgiven for his mind being elsewhere after his mother, father and father-in-law all passed away in the space of the 18 months.

"The last two years have been very difficult personally," Gonzalez said. "If I win I would like to dedicate it to my mother and father, that's my target this week.

"I think the first two days, I hit it very well from the fairway to the flag. I'm happy to make two under par on that course."

Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed is a shot behind after a 66 on the Centenary Course, host of next year's Ryder Cup, while Scotland's Stephen Gallacher is three off the lead alongside Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, who carded a round-of-the-day 64.

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