Scotland’s Greig Hutcheon will take a one shot lead into the final round of the Banque Populaire Moroccan Classic on the European Challenge Tour as he attempts to win the event for the second time in five years.
The 35 year old captured the title in 2003 at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam and will attempt to use that experience to triumph for a second time at the El Jadida Sofitel Golf Resort.
Hutcheon put himself in pole position after a third round 70 for a nine under par total of 207 gave him a one shot lead over Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey, who posted a 71, and John E Morgan of England who carded the day’s best round, a five under par 67, to join Hoey on eight under par 208.
“I have my name on the trophy once and it would be great to have it there again after tomorrow,” said Hutcheon. “I know how to win and nobody in the field is better placed than me to triumph so I will give it my best shot.”
The Scot’s lead could have been even bigger but for a double bogey six at the 12th where his ball plugged in the bunker and his escape shot flew over the green; and two three putts to finish at the 17th and 18th, the former costing him a bogey five, the latter being only good enough for a par five.
“I am a little disappointed with the way I finished because I have been putting well all week,” he said. “The greens here are great but because of the lengthy delay we had due to the weather problems of the morning, by the time you get to seven o’clock at night, the grain seems to affect the ball a lot more than early on.
“That was the problem for me on the final two holes but I suppose the good thing is that, despite all that, I am still leading and I am very much looking forward to tomorrow.
“I didn’t go to the Tour School last year because I got engaged and I had a lot of commitments round about that time to do with our house and stuff like that and because of that I don’t have a Challenge Tour category as such.
“But I know I am in at least five tournaments this year so I will see what I can do there. I finished fifth in Kenya earlier in the year which was good but I know if I am to progress through the Challenge Tour then I need a win – so we will see what I can do tomorrow.”
Morgan, who was tied for 15th at the start of the day, ignited his challenge with a birdie four at the 11th followed by an eagle two at the 321 yard 12th but failed to join Hutcheon at the top of the pile when he dropped a shot late on.
However the 30 year old from Bristol is still in good position to add to his only previous Challenge Tour title which came when he captured the Challenge Tour Championship crown in 2002.
Hoey had a quiet third day with only two birdies and two bogeys to show as departures from par in his first 17 holes. But the Northern Irishman ensured he would be in the mix for the final day with a birdie four at the final hole.