Marcus Fraser controlled his form amid blustery conditions in Finland to maintain his two shot advantage over the rest of the European Challenge Tour field at the Talma Finnish Challenge.
As conditions toughened at the 6897 yard, par 72 Golf Talma course, the Australian constructed a third round score of one under 71 for a 12 under par total of 204.
The 25 year old from Melbourne leads by two from Welshman Garry Houston, whose five under 67 was a stunning score given the strong and constant winds that swept across Finland for most of the afternoon.
Houston played some flawless golf – registering five birdies and 13 pars to put himself in contention for the €25,000 first prize.
Fraser, who won the Nykredit Danish Open earlier this season, was one of the first to congratulate Houston for that brilliant 67, but is hopeful that he can stay at the top of the leaderboard throughout the final day.
“The conditions were really tough out there today,” Fraser said after bogeying the 18th. “The wind was blowing hard all day and I think you can see from the scoring today that the course has toughened up as a result of that.
“Apart from Garry Houston – whose 67 is a great round in conditions like that – the scores have been a lot higher than they were on Thursday or Friday.
“The greens were a bit quicker as well today, but it’s a really fair test of golf out there and I feel that I did well to get under par.
“I played some of my best golf of the week today even though I didn’t score so well, but there’s a different form of satisfaction to be playing in tough conditions.
“I had a few really good par saves today at vital points in my round, and that will give me confidence tomorrow if the conditions remain.”
With four players – Tony Edlund, Richard McEvoy, Titch Moore and Daniel Vancsik – three off the lead on nine under, and another three players at eight under, Fraser will have to continue his consistent, measured approach to secure his second Challenge Tour title of the season.