A stunning 40 foot birdie putt on the Golf du Soleil’s par three 18th green put the seal on a sensational third round of eight under par 63 that propelled Sweden’s Fredrik Widmark into a two shot lead at the European Challenge Tour’s Rio Timid Beach Hotels Moroccan Classic.
Widmark constructed an exceptional round of golf to move into the lead from Whiteley, who posted a seven under 64 to leap into second place ahead of his compatriot, Gary Clark.
Jean-Nicolas Billot of France, Gabriel Canizares of Spain, Michele Reale of Italy and Spain’s Carl Suneson share fourth place on ten under, with another four players tied a further shot back.
Widmark, who won the Challenge Tour’s Izki Challenge de España in 2002 – the same season he won his European Tour card through a 14th place finish on the Challenge Tour Rankings, started his magnificent round with two pars before an eagle three at the third kick started a brilliant run of two eagles and four birdies in 16 holes, culminating in that monster putt on the 18th that saw him post a three round aggregate of 14 under 199.
The Swede is confident that his previous success on the Challenge Tour will hold him in good stead during Sunday’s final round, and believes he will comfortable as the man to catch at the head of the field.
“Having been in this position before should help me – I certainly hope it does or I won’t have learned anything over the years!” smiled Widmark after signing for his 63.
“I have a two shot lead so it looks as though the rest of the guys will have to catch me and I am comfortable with that. Sometimes you feel good when you know that you have to chase someone at the top of the leader board, but I would prefer to have the two shot lead going into the last round.
“It would be great to win tomorrow. I have had quite a slow start to the season and a win would really get things moving for me.”
Like Widmark, Whiteley put together a great round to haul him into contention going into the final round. The Englishman got his round going on the par five third hole with a great eagle, fashioned by a fine drive and then a wonderful six iron approach to eight feet which he proceeded to roll home for eagle.
The 27 year old went on to make a further six birdies in the next 11 holes, but dropped his first shot of the day on the 15th, a shot he recovered on the 17th, before three putting the 18th for bogey to put a disappointing tinge on an otherwise excellent third round score.
If either of the leaders can emulate their third round scores they will be difficult to catch as the Riu Tikida Beach Hotels Moroccan Classic gets set for what promises to be a thrilling final round.