Finland’s Antti Ahokas set up a mouthwatering final round battle with compatriot Roope Kakko and England’s Richard McEvoy after a superb seven under par 65 gave him a two stroke advantage at the ECCO Tour Championship.
Joint overnight leader Ahokas began with three birdies in his opening four holes to forge an outright advantage before an eagle three on the sixth hole and another birdie on the eight saw him reach the turn in just 30.
A wayward drive saw him drop a shot on the 12th hole but he then birdied the 15th to move to 15 under par for the championship, following a day of low scoring in perfect conditions at Kokkedal Golf Club in Copenhagen.
“The birdie on the 15th, when I holed a five metre putt, was a turning point as I was losing a bit of confidence after a few bad shots,” said Ahokas, who is just outside the European Challenge Tour Rankings top 20. “This was my best round of the season. I had some chances to go even lower.”
The 23 year old left hander took a three shot advantage into the final round when he won The 103 Abierto VISA de la Republica presentado por Peugeot in Argentina in April but he said insisted would be a different challenge altogether in Denmark.
“That was a more difficult course but with the conditions here so good for scoring you have got to make birdies,” said Ahokas. “It takes some of the pressure off as you can’t sit and wait for the other guys to do something – you just have to concentrate on picking up shots and making a low score.
“I’ve not played much competitively with Roope but it will good for Finland to have the two of us in the final group,” he added.
While Ahokas is chasing his second win of 2008, McEvoy and Kakko last tasted victory three and four years ago respectively.Kakko also signed for a 65 after matching Ahokas’s eagle on the sixth and posting five birdies.
He said: “I almost could have had nine birdies on the front nine. It was a great start. The pack is tight so you will need to play well to win. Antti is a little bit younger than me so we didn’t play amateur together but it will be fun tomorrow. I haven’t been in contention for a while so I’m looking forward to it.”
McEvoy, who will try to seal his first win since the Panasonic Panama Open in 2005, carded a flawless six under par round of 66 and has only dropped two shots so far in the tournament.
He said: “I’m just looking to go out and play my own game. I always play aggressively anyway but its controlled aggression. The way the course is you can go out an attack it. It would be nice to win again and I’m just enjoying being in contention.”
Dutchman Wil Besseling, who also won in South America earlier in the season, is also in contention for his second win after shooting a 65 to lie three shots behind Ahokas on 12 under par.