STOCKHOLM, Aug 3: Per-Ulrik Johansson celebrated his one-week wedding anniversary in style Saturday when the Swede broke the Kungsangen course record to hoist himself into a share of the Scandinavian Masters lead.
Johansson, who married Jill — sister of his close friend Jesper Parnevik — last Saturday, surged to a scintillating eight-under-par 63, breaking Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell’s record, set on Thursday, by a stroke.
That took the 35-year-old to six-under-par 207, sharing top place with second round front-runner Warren Bennett, although the Briton had not taken to the course by the time Johansson came in with a card that held one eagle and six birdies.
Having made a slow start to the week following a whirlwind two-day honeymoon after his wedding, Johansson has now put himself in the frame to follow his brother-in-law Parnevik — the 1995 winner — on to the Scandinavian Masters winner’s podium.
“Obviously it was difficult getting motivated earlier on in the week and I guess I didn’t really expect much of myself this week,” said Johansson, who plays mostly on the U.S. Tour.
“But when I made eagle on the ninth with a three-iron to 30 feet I was really going for it.
“We only come here once a year, so to shoot a course record in your own country and in front of your own fans, is fantastic.”
It was Johansson’s fifth European course record. He began his low-scoring feats back in 1991 when he broke the Noordwijk course record with a 62, matched that week by the late Payne Stewart.
The newly-married couple were not the only ones celebrating on Saturday morning.
There was a Dutch treat for Maarten Lafeber when he holed in one at the 170-yard fourth with an eight-iron to chalk up the European Tour’s 25th ace of the season in 31 events.
LEADING THIRD ROUND SCORES (BRITAIN UNLESS STATED):
203 — Niclas Fasth (Sweden) 67, 71, 65; Jeff Sluman (US) 69, 69, 65; Graeme McDowell 64, 73, 66.
204 — Trevor Immelman (South Africa) 70, 67, 67.
205 — Henrik Bjornstad (Norway) 70, 69, 66; Carl Pettersson (Sweden) 68, 69, 68; Fredrik Andersson (Sweden) 71, 66, 68; Warren Bennett 66, 70, 69.
207 — Per-Ulrik Johansson (Sweden) 70, 74, 63; David Drysdale 74, 68, 65; Joakim Haeggman (Sweden) 71, 70, 66; Peter Lonard (Australia) 72, 69, 66; Jamie Donaldson 72, 68, 67; Peter Hedblom (Sweden) 71, 69, 67; Matthew Cort 66, 73, 68; Adam Scott (Australia) 65, 74, 68; Marcel Siem (Germany) 67, 72, 68; Barry Lane 70, 68, 69; Mark Foster 70, 68, 69.—Reuters