Wil Besseling of the Netherlands admitted he had sometimes allowed his mind to drift to what it might be like to join his friend and compatriot Joost Luiten on The European Tour, after a sublime round of 67 on the third day at Golf Club de Genève put him in sight of his second Challenge Tour title.
But the flying Dutchman vowed to set such thoughts to one side and instead concentrate on adding the Trophée du Golf Club de Genève to the II Club Colombia Masters title he lifted earlier in the season.
Besseling, currently eighth in the Challenge Tour Rankings, made six birdies and added his fourth eagle of the tournament on the 13th hole to move to 17 under par, five shots clear of his nearest challengers Richard Bland of England and Brazilian Alexandre Rocha.
He said: “I’m feeling really good at the moment, particularly on the greens. I said to my caddy that it’s a similar feeling to when I last won on the Challenge Tour, in Colombia – although it’s not quite as hot here! I’m really looking forward to the last round, and hopefully I can finish it off.
“If I do win again, maybe I can start thinking about next year. It’d be a dream to play on The European Tour. That’s why we do all the travelling and the practising. It’s getting closer, but I’m definitely not there yet.”
Rocha’s round of 66 was the lowest of the day, and moved him to 12 under par alongside Bland, who shot a 69. Bland has targeted a round of 64 on the final day in a bid to chase down the runaway leader. The 35 year old cannot exert direct pressure on the leader as the unique event is played in a Pro-Am format, but Bland is planning to make Besseling work hard for the €24,400 on offer to the winner.
He said: “It is a course you can shoot low on, so a lot depends on how well Wil copes. Five shots seems a big cushion, but it can be difficult to know whether to play conservatively or stretch your lead, so you can get caught in two minds. All I can do is to attack – the course is certainly set up that way. Assuming he shoots 70, I’m going to have to shoot 64. It won’t easy, but it can be done.
“The fact that he’s not playing with anyone probably works in his favour, but there’s a few leaderboards around the course so he’ll still be aware of what everyone else is doing. If I can’t manage to close the gap, then obviously the next best thing is to secure a decent finish to climb the Rankings and take a step nearer The European Tour.”
Like Bland, Spain’s Rafael Cabrera Bello also carded a round of 69 to take fourth place on 11 under par. Steven O’Hara’s round of 72 meant the Scotsman stayed on ten under par, one shot ahead of England’s Gary Lockerbie and Australia’s Andrew Tampion.