March 21, 2009

Goya up by three stokes at Portugal golf

Estanislao Goya shot 2-under-par 69 Saturday and has a three-stroke lead after 54 holes at the Madeira Islands Open in Porto Santo, Portugal.

The steady 20-year-old European Tour rookie from Argentina was not stymied by the difficult Seve Ballesteros-designed Porto Santo Golfe course like veteran players.

His third round included four birdies, a bogey and four closing pars.

I played great with the short game and then putted great as well and I think that was really the key, he told reporters. It wasn't easy to hit the greens in regulation so it was important to make the putts. I just tried to keep the double bogeys off the card because they can take you out of contention quickly sometimes. It was very important to stay patient.

Goya's 54-hole total, 8-under 205, leads Ireland's Damien McGrane (70), who is alone in second place at 5-under 208.

Second-round leader Michael Hoey (75) of Northern Ireland is 3-under 210, five shots back.