Scotsman David Patrick fired a European Challenge Tour personal best 64 to scale the leaderboard and join Spaniard Ivo Giner at the summit on 11 under par after round three of the Open des Volcans Challenge de Francea.
Patrick, whose previous Challenge Tour best was a 66 in the Telia Grand Prix last season, played some quite stunning golf as he carded seven birdies and 11 pars for a third round total of 202.
The Edinburgh born player saved his par on the first hole and then refused to look back as he holed from 40 feet for birdie on the third, and then saw his 30 footer on the par three fifth drop below ground level to take him to minus three for the day.
After chipping in for par at the seventh, he did the same again for birdie on the ninth and completed the back nine in two under to post the best score of the week so far at Golf des Volcans.
“I’ve been waiting for this to happen for a while,” said the 28 year old. “I got going early with the putter today. I had a six foot par putt on the first which I drilled into the middle of the cup and that kind of set me off.
“I made the birdies I should have made on the front nine as well as getting a few bonuses and then I played really well on the back nine but just didn’t make the putts. But, when you’re already five or six under, it can be quite hard to keep that going.”
Giner finished with three birdies for a 67 and was happy with his consistent form over the last three days.
“It felt good today – my birdies didn’t come until nearer the end of my round, but it always feels better when you are waiting for them to arrive and they do,” he said.
“I didn’t have any bogeys on the card today either. There was only really one hole where I might have gone over par, but I made a nice 8 foot putt to save par and took a lot of confidence from that.
“I birdied the last three holes and that gives me a lot of confidence for tomorrow. I’ll be hoping to do the same as I have done in every other round this week. My game feels good at the moment so I will have the same strategy tomorrow.
“I have to play one hole at a time – that is what I have been doing all week and if I play the same way tomorrow I should have a chance of winning.”
The leaders are being pursued by Peter Hanson from Sweden on nine under after an impressive 66, with his two compatriots, Oskar Bergman and Peter Gustafsson, as well as Englishman Marcus Higley, a further one shot back on totals of eight under par, 205.
Parisian Marc Pendaries joined Hanson on 66 for the day to go from level par to five under for the tournament.
The Frenchman tied for third place at Open des Volcans Challenge de France in 1999 and finished joint second in 2001, but admitted that even the most superstitious of people would struggle to believe he can force a play off as a joint leader in 2003.
He said: “I don’t know how low my score could have been. I missed putts for birdies on the first, second and sixth holes but that’s golf – you never make everything basically.
“But, in saying that, I played brilliantly today and I feel like I deserved my score. I don’t want to sound boastful but I played very well.
“I have a good record here at the Open des Volcans. I finished tied for third place in 1999, then tied for second in 2001 but I think there is too far for me to go tomorrow to win in 2003. Perhaps I have left it a little late this time – I’m not that superstitious!"