Martin fires 63 for 3-shot lead in Portugal

Pablo Martin fired a nine-under 63

Saturday to grab a three-stroke lead after 54 holes of the
Portugal
Masters.

Martin finished at 18-under-par 198, which is two strokes shy of
the three-

round tournament scoring record.

The Spaniard claimed his first tour win, as an amateur, at the
2007 Open de

Portugal and picked up his second title at the season-opening
Alfred Dunhill

Championship last December.

Martin’s 63 wasn’t the best round of the day at Oceanico
Victoria Golf Course.

Jeppe Huldahl made seven consecutive birdies on the back nine
and fired an

11-under 61 to jump to 15-under-par 201 and into a second
place tie with

Oliver Wilson (65).

Thomas Aiken (65) and Mikko Ilonen (69) are tied for fourth at
minus-14.

Second-round leader Maarten Lafeber managed an even-par 72 and
slipped into a

share of sixth at 13-under-par 203.

Martin got his round going with a 30-foot birdie putt on the
second. After

making eagle on the par-five third, he drained a 20-footer
for eagle at the

fifth.

“I got off to a really good start. I was five-under after five
holes,” Martin

said. “That was my springboard to have a good round.”

After a pair of pars, he faltered to a bogey on the par-three
eighth. Martin

bounced back with a birdie from just inside 20 feet at the
ninth.

Around the turn, Martin converted back-to-back birdie efforts
from the 11th to

take the lead at 16-under. He drained an 18-footer for birdie
at No. 15.

Martin capped his stellar round with an up-and-down birdie on
the par-five

17th. He has birdied the 17th all three days this week.

“It was a great day. I think I made a mile and a half [worth of
putts],” joked

Martin. “I was really lucky today on 14. My ball was in the
hazard, but it was

playable.”

Huldahl got off to a quick start with three birdies in the first
four holes.

He made the turn at nine-under after back-to-back birdies
from the eighth.

The 59 watch was side-tracked momentarily as Huldahl stumbled to
a bogey on

the 10th. However, Huldahl rolled off seven consecutive
birdies after that to

soar into the early lead at minus-15.

Huldahl’s seven birdies in a row was one shy of the European
Tour record,

while his 12 birdies in a single round matched the tour mark
shared by four

others. The most recent player to card 12 birdies in one
round was Darren

Clarke at the 1999 European Open.

“With two to go yesterday, I had a feeling I had to birdie the
last two, and

got in. And then this morning, I figured just go with the
same mind set and

think about birdies,” Huldahl stated.

“I didn’t putt particularly well the first two rounds. Today, I
just sort of

started seeing the lines again, and started it with the right
pace and just

dropped in the middle every time.”

Lafeber was joined in sixth place by Ricardo Santos (65), Joost
Luiten (65)

and John Parry (64).

NOTES: Huldahl’s 61 matched the course record that Martin Kaymer
set in 2007.

It was also Huldahl’s best round on the European Tour by five
strokes…Martin

owns a piece of the 54-hole lead for the fourth time in his
tour career. He

won one of the previous three.