Peter Hanson stayed a shot ahead of the field after an eventful third round of the Gunther Hamburg Classics in Germany.
The 23 year old Swede carded 69 for 199, 17 under par, to keep his narrow advantage over England’s Michael Archer, who also returned 69, and Dutchman, Robert Jan Derksen, who climbed the leaderboard with 65.
At one stage Archer held a two shot lead. But he saw it slip from his grasp over the closing holes as playing partner Hanson seized his chance of maintaining his hold on the tournament.
Hanson lost his overnight lead early on when he bogeyed the short third for the third successive day. But he hit back with two birdies to be out in 35 and collected two more coming home.
However, he wasn’t happy with his performance. “I didn’t play as well as in the first two rounds,” he admitted. “I struggled a bit but managed to find some rhythm towards the end.”
Archer has never been worse than second at any time during the tournament and enjoyed a two-stroke lead midway through the third round after going out in 32. But four bogeys in a back nine of 37 saw him slip behind Hanson.
The crucial hole was the 363-yard 17th, which Hanson birdied to go to 17 under, while Archer took five. They both failed to take advantage of an easy birdie chance at the long 18th and will now go head-to-head again tomorrow (Sunday).
"It was a bit of a struggle today," said Archer. "I was all over the place and although I managed four birdies on the front nine, I also chipped and putted several times to save par.
"But I couldn't manage it over the back nine and it cost me. It was a disappointing way to finish but at least I'm still in the hunt."
Derksen had an eagle and six birdies in his 65 and unlike his fellow leaders was content with his lot. “I played nicely and putted well,” he said. “Normally you play well and don’t putt or you play poorly and putt well. But all part of my game were good and I’d willingly sign for another 65 tomorrow.”
England’s Andrew Butterfield eagled the last for 68 to go equal fourth on 201 with Peter Hedblom, who could complete back-to-back victories after his success in Finland last week.
Scotland’s Scott Drummond, winner of the Open des Volcans last month, had nine birdies in his 65 to move into equal sixth place on 202 alongside Klas Eriksson from Sweden, who shot 67, and England’s Simon Hurley.
The latter failed to find the form that brought him a course record 62 on Friday, having to settle for 70 thanks to an eagle and two birdies in the closing four holes.
The best round of the day belonged to Gianluca Baruffaldi, who was out early and returned 63 to move to joint ninth on 203.
The 30 year old Italian, who made the cut on the limit yesterday, was out in 29 with seven successive birdies from the third. His run finished with two bogeys in three holes from the 10th, but he hit back with an eagle-two at the 14th, chipping in from 45 yards, and followed it with two more birdies in a homeward 34.
“It is the first time I’ve had seven birdies in a row,” he said, “but I shot 29 in Holland a few years ago on the Challenge Tour. I felt very relaxed today especially with my caddie Kevin, who is a handicapped golfer that I met when he was playing in Italy last year.”
With just six shots cover the leading 20 players, it is anyone’s guess who will walk away with the top prize of 46,660 euro tomorrow.