VERSAILLES, France -- After two rounds of scowling and complaining and slapping his errant putter-head, Scotland's Colin Montgomerie finally made his move Saturday in the $1,080,000 French Open.
Still looking for his first win of the season, Montgomerie shot a third-round, 7-under-par 65 to finish 12 under at 204 and carry a one-shot lead into Sunday's final round.
Tied for second at 205 were New Zealand's Michael Campbell and Britain's Jonathan Lomas, who both shot 69s.
After completing a rain-interrupted second-round 68 Saturday morning, the 36-year-old Montgomerie said, "Now I need a round in the low 60s."
Seven hours later, he made it happen.
This time, his round was interrupted when he was on the 17th tee as his partner Miguel Martin, followed by others, left the course with thunder rumbling.
"The delay hurt nobody," Montgomerie said.
The Scot snapped up seven birdies, five on the front nine, in his best round of the season.
On the 17th, he hit a perfect 5-wood uphill into the wind, dropped the ball to 5 feet, and birdied.
When he stood on the fairway of the par-5, 18th with 197 yards to the pin and a 5-iron in his hand, he was looking at a 63 or 64.
"I'd had 185 this morning with a 5-iron, but this afternoon I hit it 206. That's 20 yards further. I still don't know how that happened."
The ball pitched past the flag and bounced into the water hazard.
On a hole that consistently yielded birdies, Montgomerie had to settle for par.
"But you can't be disappointed with a 65, " Montgomerie said. "The front-nine was as good as I can do."
When he has faced second-placed Campbell in the past, he has usually come out on top.
"We've been head-to-head four or five times and I think Monty's won every time," Campbell admitted. "I respect Monty as a player and as a person, and tomorrow's going to be fun and a real challenge."
Campbell is gunning for his fourth title of the year.
Australian veteran Roger Davis and Scotland's Andrew Coltart both shot 70 to tie for fourth at 207 with Fernando Roca from Spain, who carded a 72.
Jean Van de Velde shot 68 to be six shots off the pace at 210.
Jarmo Sandelin slumped from a share of the two-round lead to tie for 32nd at 213 after a 78.
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