On the eve of his 40th birthday, England’s Peter Baker set up the chance to begin a new life on The European Tour by maintaining his two stroke lead going into the final round Open A.G.F. Allianz Côtes d’Armor Bretagne.
Baker produced a dazzling finish to his third round, birdieing four of his closing five holes to pull two clear of countryman Ross McGowan as both players finished the day with five under par rounds five 65 at the Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André.
That ensured Baker a 14 under total of 196, with McGowan two behind the former Ryder Cup player and Welshman Jamie Donaldson a further two strokes back.
Frenchman François Delamontagne continued his outstanding recent form to move into fourth place on seven under, but it looks to be a three horse race between Baker, Donaldson and McGowan on the leader’s 40th birthday.
Currently 23rd on the Challenge Tour Rankings, if Baker can secure the first prize of €22,400 he will guarantee full playing rights on The European Tour for the first time in five years, and signal the beginning of a new life on The European Tour.
Perhaps life does begin at 40 after all?
“I certainly hope so!” laughed Baker after signing for his third round 65. “It would be a nice present for my 40th birthday if I could win here, but as we all know there is a long way to go – anything can happen in the space of 18 holes.
“I played well today and to finish the way I did with those four birdies in the last five holes was a huge boost for me. Obviously it is great to have a two shot lead going into the final round, but it will also do my confidence good if I am up there coming down the stretch tomorrow.”
Baker’s finish was stamped with all the class that made him a three time European Tour champion as well as one of the stars of Europe’s 1993 Ryder Cup Team.
It all started on the 14th fairway with a delicious three iron that came to rest just a foot from the cup. That was followed up with birdie putts of 20 feet and then 12 feet on the 15th and 16th holes before he closed with a sweetly struck pitching wedge to 12 feet on the 18th that he duly converted for birdie.
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