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Swede Takes Lead at Euro Golf

August 22, 1998

DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) _ Mathias Gronberg rolled in a 30-foot eagle putt at the last hole for a 5-under 67 Saturday to open a three-stroke lead going into the final round of the $2 million European Open.

Gronberg, whose only European tour victory came three years ago, has a 206 total.

American Craig Hainline was his closest rival at 209, and another three strokes back, three golfers were tied for third place, Darren Clarke, Bernhard Langer and Jose Rivero.

Hainline stayed in contention with a 69, Clarke had a 70 and the co-leaders going into the round, Langer and Rivero, slipped back with 3-over 75s.

Gale-force winds and heavy rain were forecast for Sunday’s final round, and Gronberg worried if his lead was big enough for him to hold on.

``There are 18 holes left, and I’ll try to take it shot-by-shot and stay calm,″ the 28-year-old Swede said. ``This K Club can be very punishing, and I’ve heard the weather is going to be pretty horrendous.

The big European Ryder Cup names were out of this one.

Colin Montgomerie and Seve Ballesteros missed the cut, Jose Maria Olazabal was 17 strokes back and Lee Westwood was likely to pull out with a hip injury.

At exactly 3:10 in the afternoon, the players halted for a minute’s silence in memory of the 28 people, many of them children, killed in a bomb blast at Omagh, Northern Ireland, a week ago.

Led by Clarke, European players have planned a Pro-Am to raise money for the dependants of those who died in last Saturday’s explosion.

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