There is a three-way tie at the top after three rounds on the Norwegian Open at Losby in Oslo involving Swedes Paul Nilbrink and Per Larsson along with Stuart Little from England. The trio are on 10-under-par 206, one clear of the field, Nilbrink after a 70, Larsson a best-of-the-day 65 and Little a 68.
Larsson’s 65 was almost flawless with seven birdies and no dropped shots. “This is a beautiful course which suits me,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve played here and I have a good feeling for tomorrow.”
Larsson has not won a Challenge Tour title but Nilbrink has and is keen to add to his victory in the Volvo Finnish Open last year. Little’s only Challenge Tour title was six years ago in the Rolex Pro-Am in Switzerland and he has been on the leaderboard many times this year.
His 68 contained an eagle and four birdies and would have been even better if he hadn’t suffered a double-bogey seven at the long 14th.
Just a shot behind on 207 is another threesome, Raphael Vanbegin of Belgium, who had 67, another Swede, Johan Forsman, also with 67, and Ireland’s Francis Howley.
Forsman made the best possible start with an eagle-three at the first, but it was after the turn that he really got to grips with the course.
Five birdies in seven holes from the 11th saw the Swede sharing the lead but a last hole bogey-five saw him home in 33 and a share of fourth place.
But Howley will be kicking himself for not going into tomorrow’s final round well clear of the field. The 31-year-old carded an eagle and five birdies in the first seven holes to be out in 28 which put him 12 under and clear of the field.
But although he had further chances coming home, he couldn’t convert any and a bogey and a double bogey saw him home in 40 for 68.
Leadership seems to be a poisoned chalice. The first round leaders crashed in round two and it was the same in round three. Overnight leader Peter Hanson went round in 73 to drop to equal seventh on 208, but Londoner Chris Gane went in the other direction, a five-birdie 67 saw him climb from joint 21st to 10th on 210.