Belgium’s Nicolas Vanhootegem will be dreaming of Tiger Woods as he prepares to defend his one stroke lead going into the final to round of the A.G.F. Allianz Golf Open de Toulouse.
Vanhootegem, who added a third round 69 to his previous efforts of 71-65 to move to 11 under par 205 at the Golf de Toulouse Golf-Seilh, rightly cites Woods as the greatest exponent of how to hold onto a lead going on the final round.
The World Number One is famous for his refusal to relinquish the lead of a tournament going into the final round, and Vanhootegem will have to adopt the Woods approach if he is to hold off a hungry chasing pack of 14 players who are within three shots of the 34 year old.
The closest challengers – Switzerland’s André Bossert, George Murray of Scotland, Gareth Paddison of New Zealand and Germany’s Christian Reimbold – are just one behind Vanhootegem on ten under par.
The leader’s last Challenge Tour win came in the 2002 Aa St Omer Open and he is hoping that Sunday’s final round at the Golf de Toulouse Golf-Seilh can signal his return to the winners’ enclosure.
“What I have to do tomorrow is let it happen and not worry too much about the pressure,” said the Belgian.
“That’s the way Tiger does it, so I’ll just have to spend the night thinking about Tiger and how he does it so that I can defend the lead tomorrow!
“It is difficult to defend the lead like that because all the pressure is on the third round leader when the last round starts, and there are a lot players very close to me so I’ll have to play well to win.
“But my confidence is growing, and has been since last year, so hopefully that can continue and I can win again tomorrow.”
Not only are there four players within a stroke of Vanhootegem’s lead, but a further 10 with three shots of the leader.
Michiel Bothma of South Africa, Sweden’s Kalle Edberg, Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey, Norway’s Jan-Are Larsen and Dutchman Joost Luiten are tied on nine under, while Norway’s Peter Kaensche, Ireland’s Colm Moriarty and the Swede’s Magnus Persson and Lief Westerberg are sitting on eight under par.