Knud Storegaard of Denmark and Scotland’s Greig Hutcheon, respectively 18th and 17th on the Challenge Tour Rankings, applied the heat on all the way leader, Ola Eliasson in the Philips Challenge Xacobeo’99 tournament at Golf Club de La Coruna, Spain.
Eliasson, who has never been out of the lead or a tie for the lead since a first round 65, shot a level par 72 in the third round to share top spot with Storegaard, who fired a five under par 67 for an eight under par total of 208.
However four players are grouped right behind the leaders on seven under par, including Hutcheon, the recent winner of the Formby Hall Challenge after a delayed play-off.
Also on the same score are Hennie Otto of South Africa, who shot a 66, Martin Erlandsson (71) and Spain’s Jose Manuel Lara (68).
Storegaard, who had six birdies and one bogey in his round, said: “This is a very important tournament for me. I’m 18th on the Rankings at the moment and need a good finish to get into the top 15.
“That is my aim – to get that card. I’ve had a solid enough season but the results haven’t reflected my golf. Today I putted much better and scored well – although funnily enough I played better in the first two rounds.”
Eliasson, currently 40th in the Rankings but with a chance to move into the top 20 with his debut victory, was disappointed to bogey the last after twice being in trees at the 18th. He said: “It would have been much sweeter to take a lead into the final day.”
Hutcheon shot a 68 to tie for third place, and admitted that things are looking up after an injury-interrupted Spring after damaging a rib playing football before a Challenge Tour event at El Saler in Valencia.
Now, though, with a victory at Formby Hall, he lies in 17th place and commented: “I had an unsteady start to the year but I’ve steadied the ship and winning at Formby Hall helped immensely.
“I only made one cut from nine events after hurting my rib, but the second half of the season has been much more rewarding and I hope I can get into that top 15.”