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



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


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


“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


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


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


owns a piece of the 54-hole lead for the fourth time in his

tour career. He

won one of the previous three.