A final hole eagle saw Edoardo Molinari establish a three-shot lead on the penultimate day of the Club Colombia Masters presentado por Samsung and put the Italian in sight of clinching his third Challenge Tour title.
Molinari, who won the inaugural Club Colombia Masters in 2007 and later added the Tusker Kenya Open, has made a return to the Challenge Tour in a bid to revitalise a career which had promised so much after his spectacular US Amateur Championship in 2005.
And the 28 year old is on course to get his second Challenge Tour campaign off to the perfect start by claiming the US$32,000 first prize.
Molinari goes into the final day on 12 under par, three shots clear of American Dan Olsen and the Argentine duo of Alan Wagner and Julio Zapata, with Frenchman Julien Guerrier one shot further back on eight under par.
The Italian opened his round of 68 with a bogey, but soon rallied with four birdies on the front nine, before adding a further two on the back nine which cancelled out dropped shots at the 10th and 11th holes.
But it was his eagle three on the 18th hole which really saw the Italian take command of the US$200,000 tournament, which is co-sanctioned by the Challenge Tour and the Tour de las Americas.
Molinari said: “Today on the front nine I was unable to get the distance on the long putts, and I three-putted twice. Then I missed a couple of shots, and paid with bogeys on the 10th and 11th holes.
“But from that point on, I played extremely well – just as I did on the front nine yesterday. It was great to finish with an eagle on the 18th hole to open a three stroke lead going into tomorrow. I have a very good chance of winning if I keep playing as I have done over the first three days.”
Englishman Rob Harris compiled the lowest round of the day, his 66 moving him to a share of sixth place alongside Chile’s Mark Tullo on seven under par.