Pulkkanen takes lead at Czech Masters, Austin birdies 18th to take Boeing Classic lead

Seeking his first European Tour title, Pulkkanen looked confident ahead of the final round of the Czech Masters.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland on the 18th hole during Day Three of The D+D Real Czech Masters at Albatross Golf Resort.   -  Getty Images

Tapio Pulkkanen will take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the Czech Masters after a 6-under 66 on Saturday.

Three shots off the lead after the second round, the 31-year-old Finn did not drop a shot in the third round until the par-4 17th. He bounced back with his seventh birdie on No. 18 at the Albatross Golf Resort near Prague for a 13-under 203 total.

It's the first lead for Pulkkanen after the third round in his career.

“It was a solid round — better than the first two,” Pulkkanen said. “A lot of good putts and a lot of good iron shots. Off the tee I was pretty straight today as well, so I’m happy with that.”

Seeking his first European Tour title, Pulkkanen looked confident ahead of the final round.

“I feel like I can play both aggressive and defensive here this week. I feel like I can win here.”

Former British Open champion Henrik Stenson of Sweden dropped his first shot at the Czech Masters on No. 6 to finish the round at 3-under 69 and share second with two Americans, Johannes Veerman (68) and Sean Crocker (70) at 11 under.

“I’m pleased with the way I managed my way around the golf course,” Stenson said. “I’m still battling some things in the swing — I don’t know how visible it is on the outside but I’m certainly feeling it. It’s hard to turn around two or three bad seasons in one week. But I’m positive with the progress.”

American Paul Peterson (68), who won the Czech Masters in 2016, was another stroke back in fifth.

Overnight leader Sebastian Söderberg of Sweden dropped four shots on the front nine with a double bogey and two bogeys. He had another bogey on the back nine to finish on 73, tied for sixth on 9 under with another Swede, Philip Eriksson (68), Englishman Sam Horsfield (67) and Poland's Adrian Meronk (72).

Play was delayed by more than two hours due to fog on Saturday morning.

Woody Austin birdies 18th

Woody Austin birdied the par-5 18th on Saturday for a 4-under 68 and a one-stroke lead over Jim Furyk and Colin Montgomerie in the PGA Tour Champions' Boeing Classic.

The 57-year-old Austin had three straight birdies on Nos. 13-15. He has four senior victories after also winning four PGA Tour titles.

Austin took a 10-under 134 total into the final round at Snoqualmie Ridge.

“It will be fun,” Austin said. “I mean, that’s all you ever ask for is a shot and I give myself a shot and I’ll see how it goes. ... I’m always confident. I think I can beat anybody on any given day.”

Furyk and Montgomerie, playing in the same group, each shot 67.

The 51-year-old Furyk won in his first two senior starts last year and took the U.S. Senior Open last month in Nebraska.

The 58-year-old Montgomerie birdied the final two holes. He won the last of his seven senior titles in 2019.

“I enjoyed playing with Jim Furyk, I must admit," Montgomerie said. "A gentleman and someone I’ve admired for many, many years since we first came across Jim in ’97 at Valderrama at the Ryder Cup. I’ve always admired his game and it’s great to play with him here in America."

Jerry Kelly (69) was two strokes back at 8 under with Brett Quigley (67), Tim Petrovic (67), Glen Day (68) and Billy Mayfair (70). Kelly won the 2017 tournament.

Ernie Els, tied for first-round lead with Austin and Mayfair, had a 71 to fall into a tie for ninth at 7 under with Stephen Ames (66) and Jesper Parnevik (69).

Brandt Jobe, the 2019 winner in the event that was canceled last year because of the COVID-10 pandemic, was 1 over after a 75.

Two-time Boeing winner Bernhard Langer was 6 under after a 68.

Local favorite Fred Couples shot a 69 to get to 3 under.

“It was a little better,” Couples said. “I hit a few good shots and I made a few putts."

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