Robert Rock had some good, bad and ugly luck during round three of the Ryder Cup Wales Challenge on the European Challenge Tour, but he managed to continue to dominate the tournament with a third round 65 to post a 17 under par aggregate total of 196.
Rock struck a drive on the third that hit the top of out of bounds fence and bounced back in play. At the next, his ball was again heading off the course before it struck a female spectator and landed on the course.
His bouts of good and ugly fortune then turned to bad on the 18th, where he overcut his tee shot and landed out of bounds before recovering well to make a bogey five. In between all that he managed to make birdies at the seventh, eighth, tenth, 11th, 13th, 14th and 17th as well as birdieing the first to record his 65.
“It was a bit of a strange day in terms of hitting the ball out of bounds, but the good fortune evened itself up over the day in the sense that I eventually went out of bounds on the last, and the fact that I had some other bad luck on the greens and what have you.
I felt terrible when I hit the lady on the fourth – it put me off my game for a while but I managed to get over it and play pretty well.
“I’m looking forward to the last round – I’ve never had a lead going into the last day of a tournament so it will be a new experience for me. I don’t think I’ll feel too much pressure, unless I get off to a really bad start.”
Rock holds a two shot lead over his fellow Englishman and third round playing partner, Robert Coles, with Mattias Eliasson of Sweden in third place on 14 under.
The 28 year old went to the turn in a brilliant 29 with four birdies and an eagle on the front nine, but could not maintain his charge on the way back.
“I lost my way on the 14th,” said Eliasson. “I made bogey there and with that I lost my momentum, which was really disappointing because I thought I could have recorded a super low score today.
“When you go to the turn in 29 you cannot help but think of the magical 59, and I really thought I could have broken 60 today because the conditions were perfect.”
German Kariem Baraka and Welshman Craig Williams share fourth place on minus 13, with Englishman Sam Walker a further shot back.
The Challenge Tour’s exemplary standards continued at the De Vere Northop Country Park Golf Club, with nine players shooting 65 – and only three players out of the 51 who made the cut over par during round three.