COVENTRY, England -- Paolo Quiric of Switzerland shot a 2-under-par 70 on a cold, wet Saturday to take a one-stroke lead after three rounds of the British Masters.
Quiric closed with birdies on the 16th and 17th for a 5-under 211.
It's the first time he has ever led a European PGA Tour tournament entering the final 18 holes.
"I know it's going to be a pretty hard day for me," said Quiric, who best finish on the tour was fourth.
Six players were a stroke behind: Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke, Scotland's Sam Torrance and Colin Montgomerie, England's Mark Roe, Swede Daniel Chopra, and Frenchman Marc Farry, whose 67 was the best score of the day.
Nine more were just two strokes off the pace, with seven more three strokes behind.
Clarke, who had a 74 after sharing the second-round lead, knew he'd had a bad day in the wind and cold.
"I had a perfect chance today to go four or five ahead," said Clarke. "Maybe one of these days I'll get it right, but at least I played very poorly and I still find myself only one shot back."
Montgomerie, Europe's leading money winner the last five seasons and third this time, said he was just happy to be in contention after a mid-season slump. He had a 70 on Saturday.