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European Masters: Matthew Fitzpatrick leads by two ahead of final round

Matthew Fitzpatrick of England celebrates his birdie putt on the 18th hole during the third round of The Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Matthew Fitzpatrick stormed to the top of the European Masters leaderboard and will take a two-shot lead into the final round after shooting a 7-under-par 63 in Switzerland.

Overlooked as a European Ryder Cup wildcard earlier this week, the Englishman, who is the defending champion after winning at Crans-sur-Sierre last year, shot the lowest score of the day for the second round in a row.

Starting in the final group but two shots behind overnight leader Hideto Tanihara, Fitzpatrick's round gathered pace after a long birdie putt at the 5th. A second consecutive birdie followed at the 6th and a chip-in eagle at the 7th moved him into the outright lead at 12 under overall.

The 24-year-old remained faultless on the back nine and moved to 14 under after finishing his round with a birdie at the final hole. Fitzpatrick has four European Tour wins to his name but is yet to record a first-place finish so far this season.

"I would say that everything went well today," Fitzpatrick told the European Tour website. "I drove it really solid and made some great up-and-downs which has been a bit of a struggle this season to keep the round going. There were some real key ones today and that was the difference. It kept the momentum and I managed to kick on."

Victory on Sunday would see Fitzpatrick become the first player to defend the European Masters title since Seve Ballesteros in 1978

"He (Ballesteros) is a good man to emulate," Fitzpatrick said. "You still want to put the pressure on and make birdies. You are going to have to because someone is going to come up from somewhere tomorrow, there is no doubt because you can get it going."

Mike Lorenzo-Vera is Fitzpatrick's closest competitor ahead of Sunday's final round. The Frenchman recovered from a bogey at the second to make seven birdies in a round of 63, including a birdie three at the 17th that gave him a brief share of the lead.

Daniel Brooks and Ashun Wu are a shot further back at 10 under after rounds of 64 and 65 respectively. They are joined by Haydn Porteous, Lucas Bjerregaard and Doug Ghim in a share for third place.

Tanihara, who started the day two shots ahead of Fitzpatrick at 9 under, dropped to a tie for 8th after an even-par round.

He is joined by Gavin Green, who shot the joint-lowest round of the day with a 7-under 63 that included a streak of four consecutive birdies from the 13th to the 16th.