Stuart Manley (Getty Images)
François Calmels and Stuart Manley are set for their own Battle of Waterloo after respective rounds of 70 and 71 left them tied for the lead going into the final round of the Telenet Trophy in Belgium.
The pair, who are both chasing their first European Challenge Tour victory, are locked on ten under par 206, after a see-saw third round at Royal Waterloo.
After Calmels had seized the advantage with a flawless front nine, overnight leader Manley hit back and opened up a two stroke lead with a birdie on the 17th hole but a double bogey on the last saw him slip back.
The duo, who will once again form the last pairing in the final round, will now fight it out for the title close to the battle site where Napoleon’s troops were famously defeated nearly 200 years ago, although English pair Andrew Butterfield and Richard McEvoy are also poised two strokes behind the leaders.
Welshman Manley was disappointed with his finish after taking a seven on the last hole when he found the bunker but maintained he was still confident going into the decisive final round.
“I was trying to shoot low today to give myself a nice advantage going into tomorrow and get myself ahead but it didn’t quite work out like that,” said the 30 year old.
“On the last I took a nine iron from 192 yards and the wind just caught it and took it into the bunker. It ran right up the side and plugged as there was too much sand in there so I had no shot.
“I should have had a four on the last and a three shot lead but instead I’m tied but if I play like I did today I stand a good chance.
“It will be nice to play with François again. He is a very nice guy and his partner (Ladies professional Jade Schaeffer) was very helpful, cleaning balls, and knows what she is doing so it was fun out there.”
Frenchman Calmels had a less eventful round than his playing partner, posting three birdies and one bogey on the 14th, and he feels it will be a close run thing for the title.
“I thought two under par was an OK score today,” said the 27 year old Parisian. “I only made the one mistake but nothing really happened out there for me. I drove the ball quite well and had a lot of two putts.
“I’ll try to play the same tomorrow but it depends on the weather a lot. With the wind it is quite easy to make a bogey or a double bogey out there, as Stuart did on the last.
“I’m staying with my mother this week as she lives near the course and she watched my back nine today and will tomorrow so it would be a nice place to win.”
Both Calmels and Manley are looking to go one better than their previous best finishes on the Challenge Tour - tied runner up in the OPEN DE SAINT-OMER OPEN presented by Neuflize OBC and the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final respectively in 2007.
Butterfield and McEvoy are tied for third place on eight under par after respective rounds of 71 and 68, with Dominique Nouailhac of France and Roland Steiner of Austria a further shot back.