Irishman David Higgins is on course to land his first tour title after carding a seven-under-par 64 in the third round of the NCC Open in Sweden. The 27-year-old from Waterville is on 203, 10 under par, and three strokes clear of Sweden’s Peter Gustafsson and Marten Olander and Henrik Bjornstad from Norway.
It was Higgins’s lowest ever Challenge Tour return and matched that of Fredrik Widmark who returned 64 in Friday’s second round. Higgins ran in seven birdies, four in a front nine of 31. Strangely, he failed to pick up a shot at any of the five short holes.
In six years as a professional, Higgins’ best finish is tied third on both the European and Challenge Tours, while he hasn’t finished better than 28th on the Challenge Tour this year.
Gustafsson, who began the day four off the lead, carded a 65 which would have looked more impressive but for Higgins magnificent effort. Nevertheless, the 23-year-old Swede climbed from equal 12th to joint second and is also seeking his first Challenge Tour title.
Olander, the first round leader, who slipped down the field with a 73, bounced back with a 66, while Bjornstad, the joint overnight leader, carded 69.
Two more Swedes, Martin Erlandsson and Bjorn Pettersson share fifth place on 209 after rounds of 70.