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Pieters and Pavon tied in Portugal

Thomas Pieters came home in 30 on day three of the Portugal Masters to put himself in pole position to claim a fifth European Tour victory in Vilamoura.

The 2016 Ryder Cup star has endured a frustrating 2021, with a best finish of ninth despite making 12 cuts from his 15 events so far as he looks to claim a first win since 2019.

But a 65 on day three in the Algarve moved him to 16 under and handed him a share of the lead alongside Frenchman Matthieu Pavon, who also carded a 65.

“The front nine was really tough with the wind,” said Pieters. “We got lucky, it just kind of died down on the back nine but the front nine was brutal.

“It’s nice to be 16 under… hopefully I’ll have a chance tomorrow.”

Pavon is looking for his maiden European Tour victory as he leads after 54 holes for the first time, and is hopeful he can maintain his focus under pressure.

“I try to hit as many greens as possible and this is the way I was,” he said. “Focused on every shot, try to hit every shot like it was the most important in my life.

“The focus was really good and narrow today compared to yesterday so I will try to bring this mentality with me tomorrow.”

Dane Lucas Bjerregaard was third at 12 under.

West Australian Min Woo Lee is six under after a 71.

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