Fitzpatrick finishes strongly to regain lead in Rome

Four birdies in the last six holes of his third round moved Matt Fitzpatrick back to the top of the leaderboard at the Italian Open.

Matt Fitzpatrick made a strong finish to his third round at the Italian Open to regain a one-shot lead in Rome.

Fitzpatrick started moving day with the slenderest of advantages, and after struggling early on he returned to the top of the leaderboard after coming up with four birdies in his last six holes.

American Kurt Kitayama looked set to be the man to catch on the final day at Olgiata Golf Club after a sparkling 65 - before Englishman Fitzpatrick gained momentum to post a three-under 68 and move to 13 under.

Fitzpatrick dropped a shot at the second after starting with a birdie, and made another bogey at the 10th, but he got back into the groove with a late charge courtesy of a combination of excellent approach shots and clinical putting.

"To put myself one in front gives me a little bit of help," said five-time European Tour event winner Fitzpatrick. "I'm just looking forward and I'm ready to go already.

"Coming down the hill on the 12th it didn't feel like I should be one over. I didn't hit as many good shots as I would have liked around the turn so that cost me a little bit and put me back. To finish the way I did was great."

American Kitayama finished the day in second place after signing for a bogey-free, six-under score.

Kitayama reached the turn in 32 after making three gains on the front nine and picked up another three shots to put himself firmly in contention.

Scotland's Robert MacIntyre also surged up the leaderboard with a magnificent 64 to stand third, just two shots adrift of Fitzpatrick, while Bernd Wiesberger and Matt Wallace both went round in 67 and were a further shot back.