Germany’s Stephan Gross Jnr remained on course to become only the third amateur in history to claim a Challenge Tour title after establishing a one shot lead on day three of the Vodafone Challenge.
On the final hole at G&CC An der Elfrather Muhler in Dusseldorf, Germany, the youngster made birdie – his fifth of the day – to move to 13 under par and maintain a one shot advantage over a trio of players including Norway’s Lars Brovold, who shot the lowest round of the day, a 65.
Joining Brovold on 12 under par were the Scottish duo of George Murray and Richie Ramsay, who shot rounds of 68 and 69 respectively.
But the man they have to catch is Gross Jnr, who is bidding to follow Sweden’s Eric Carlberg and Finland’s Roope Kakko into the record books and become the third player to win on the Challenge Tour as an amateur.
He said: “I started the round well with nine pars on the front nine. On the back nine I played really well, but unlike yesterday the putts fell just short of the hole. But that’s golf – you can’t force it.
“Finishing the round with a birdie and taking over the lead again gave me confidence and a small advantage for tomorrow.”
Hoping to capitalise on any slips by the German is Brovold, who was naturally delighted with a round of 66 which featured two eagles.
He said: “When I played here two years ago I missed the cut, so this time I’m in much better shape. I’ll just try to keep my game going.”
Alongside Brovold were Ramsay and Murray, who has been troubled by a recurring back problem.
Ramsay knows where he has to improve if he is to deny the youngster the title. He said: “On the front nine today I wasn’t able to take my chances, and on the back nine my game wasn’t as good as I’d wanted. I’ll have to work on a couple of things tomorrow to get first prize – my play on the back nine especially has to be much better. But Stephan played well today and showed good mental strength, so it won’t be easy.”
Michiel Bothma is on 11 under par after the South African carded a round of 66, whilst England’s Chris Gane and France’s Anthony Snobeck are one shot back in a tie for sixth.
|T2||GROSS JR, Stephan||GER||18||-15|
|T5||ARRUTI, Jesus Maria||ESP||18||-11|