Carlos Rodiles will take a one stroke lead into the final round of the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Markus Brier Foundation after a day of tough conditions left the tournament poised for an enthralling final round.
A 90 minute weather delay due to a lightning storm, coupled with gusting winds made conditions markedly more difficult than the first two rounds when Rodiles compiled two beautiful scores of 65 to take the 14 under par lead.
It was a different story in round three though, but the Spaniard held onto his lead after a one under par 71 was good enough to keep him one clear of exciting young German Florian Fritsch, with Edoardo Molinari just one stroke further back after a brilliant six under par 66 in the toughest conditions of the day and Markus Brier and Adam Gee lurking with intent on 12 under.
Like Molinari, Rodiles put on a fine display of ball striking and was unlucky to turn in three over par given the quality of his shot-making.
“It was blowing, then stopping, then blowing all around us: it was really tough but I hit the ball great today,” the Spaniard confirmed.
“I got unlucky on the fourth because it was playing 220 yards dead into the wind and I hit a five wood over the flag and I thought that it was perfect but the ball never appeared. There is out of bounds about 20 yards beyond that and I just couldn’t figure out what happened. The wind must have died and I went out of out of bounds so I took a six there but after that I hit the ball great.
“The tournament is wide open now. Edoardo has put in a great round of six under in those conditions and I don’t know much about Florian Fritsch but he has already had a couple of great finishes out here so you know that he had a lot of talent.
“It’s just going to be a one shot at a time day tomorrow – I know everyone says that but what can you do. You just have to hit the fairways and greens and single putt every hole, it’s that easy!”
Rodiles, of course, knows that it will not be easy to hold off the challenges of Fritsch, Molinari, Brier and Gee when the final round gets underway, but he is hopeful that he can overcome the first tee nerves and stay in control of his own destiny as the final round reaches its climax.
“I am not the type of guy to worry about the final round over night. I am a good sleeper but I will definitely have some goosebumps and nerves in the morning,” smiled the Spaniard.
“That usually lasts a couple of holes and if you are still up there it comes back at the end. But you have to try and enjoy that. Great players enjoy that, Tiger enjoys that so you have to try. It’s impossible not to have nerves in this situation but you have to know how to handle them no matter what level you are at – it might be The European Tour, the Challenge Tour or your monthly medal: it doesn’t matter what level you are playing at – you are always nervous if you are up there but you have to try and handle it as best you can.”
Molinari continued his winning form from the Piemonte Open to charge up the leaderboard and into contention for a second victory in the space of 14 days.
The Italian’s 66 was the lowest score of the day, and included an explosive finish of an eagle and four birdies over last seven holes of the Golfclub Klagenfurt-Seltenheim to put him right in contention in the final round.
Brier was pleased with his two under par 70, given that he found the tricky conditions upset his rhythm and made him slightly uncomfortable with his game for the majority of the third round. Given that he had an awkward day at the office, Austria’s number one player is happy to still be in contention.
“I found it very difficult out there actually,” said Brier. “The conditions were tough and it was difficult to get it to the pins with the wind gusting around for most of the day. I kept it together – I only made one bogey on the sixth – but I never really got it going and put it close to make a lot of birdies.
“I also didn’t take advantage of the easy holes out there today but I managed to pick up a few shots coming in when the conditions eased off a bit. But it was tough and not that many guys have made a great move today which shows the conditions were difficult.
“I am pretty pleased still to be in there and with a good chance – hopefully I can get a low one tomorrow and we will see what happens.”