Englishman Matthew Morris waved his magic wedges to maintain his stronghold on the Nykredit Danish Open after a third round 68 gave him his third consecutive sub 70 score and left him on ten under par 203 – three shots clear of his compatriot Simon Dyson with just 18 holes to play at the Esbjerg Golfklub in Denmark.
Morris produced some exceptional wedge play from under 100 yards to notch four out of his five birdies during round three, leaving the ball no further than four feet from the hole on each occasion – as well as sinking a 30 foot putt for a birdie two on the par three eighth hole.
Dropped shots at the second and 14th brought his score back to reality, but the 26 year old was delighted to hold a three shot lead going into the final round.
“I really enjoyed myself again out there today, and I played nice and steadily as well as pitching the ball very well from under 100 yards – that was the key to a lot of my birdies today,” said Morris, who up until this week had missed six out of six cuts on the Challenge Tour this season.
“Four out of my five birdies actually came as a result of good wedge play, pitching the ball to three of four feet for relatively easy birdies. The other shot that I picked up was a bit lucky because I holed a putt from over 30 feet, and when you get to that sort of distance on the green, anything that you hole is really considered as a bonus.
“I feel really good about my game at the moment and as I said yesterday, it is no fluke that I am leading the tournament – I just hope I can keep going over the last round because we all know that a hell of a lot can change over the course of 18 holes – especially this course.
“It will be case of doing what I’ve been doing all week tomorrow – it has worked well for me so far. I feel good about my game, and have not felt too many nerves about leading the tournament so that is reassuring for me.”
Morris played alongside Dyson during the third round, and he believes that outscoring a player of Dyson’s pedigree can only enhance his confidence as he looks to secure his maiden professional victory on Sunday afternoon.
“I enjoyed playing with Simon today – he is a top player who has been there and done it on the European Tour, so to outscore him today will not do my confidence any harm whatsoever.”
Dyson, meanwhile, admitted that it may take a collapse in form from Morris if he is to have a chance of securing victory in Denmark. The 26 year old admitted that it was a dip in form due to severe pressure that prevented him winning The European Tour’s BMW Asian Open last month, after he had led the tournament for the first three rounds.
“I’m going to have to go out and try to attack as much as possible tomorrow because I’m three shots behind and Mathew is playing really well just now,” he said.
“I will definitely need to shoot at least five under to stand a chance because Mathew looks as though he will go under par again tomorrow, unless the pressure gets to him like it did to me in Shanghai a few weeks ago.
“There’s no doubt about it that the pressure got to me in China – it was huge day for me and I let it affect me.
“But I like to think that I have learned from that and have to play well tomorrow in case what happened to me happens to Mathew so that I can be there to capitalise.
“I played alright today – I had five birdies on the card, but then my three dropped shots brought me back a bit so now I am looking for another 65 tomorrow, which I know I am capable of after doing it on Friday.”
Fredrik Henge is third on the leaderboard – four shots behind Morris on six under par after a third round 70.
The Swede commented: “This has been something of a strange week for me because I feel as though I have played very well, yet I am still hitting some strange shots that I can’t really explain why. I would say that, despite struggling round the course at some points I am really enjoying my week here.
“I think I have to adjust my mental approach to this golf course because it is a very tough test and even though I am four shots off the lead, I think it will be very difficult to try and be aggressive on this golf course.”
Henge’s fellow Swede Paul Nilbrink is a further shot back, with another Swedish duo – Mikael Lundberg and Magnus Persson Atlevi – on four under alongside Englishman Gary Clark.