TENERIFE (Canary Islands): Spaniard Pablo Martin, just turned 17, has a chance of becoming the first amateur to beat European professionals for 42 years after carding a blistering eight-under-par 64 to share the third round lead in the Canaries Spanish Open yesterday.
Martin’s eight birdies took him to the top of the leaderboard on 19-under-par 197 - the week before he sits school exams.
Martin shares a one-stroke lead with fellow Spaniard Santiago Luna, Dane Soren Hansen and Britons Paul Casey, one of the overnight leaders, Kenneth Ferrie and Simon Khan.
If the Malaga teenager, the Spanish amateur champion, can win on Sunday, he will be the first amateur to win a professional event on the PGA and European Tours since 22-year-old Irishman David Sheehan in 1961 at Royal Dublin in the Jeyes Tournament.
Martin only turned 17 last Sunday and has had to put off his schoolwork this week to travel from Malaga to play.
But he did have time for some teaching. After his round he paid tribute to one of his playing partners from the Guadalhorce Club, former Ryder Cup man Miguel Angel Jimenez, for giving him a short swing lesson before the tournament.
“I was a little bit lost with my driving until Miguel Angel helped me,” said Martin, playing in his second pro event after featuring in the 2001 Madrid Open.
“It helped me play very solid today.”
The youngster had spoiled his day right at the end of the second round when lying only two strokes off the lead, throwing in two three-putt bogeys in the last three holes. – Reuters