Welshman Stuart Manley proved that a change is as good as a rest when he surged into a share of the lead with Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen after the third round of the Credit Suisse Challenge.
The 31 year old from Aberdare changed coach at the start of the season, linking up with Neil Matthews, and admitted he is beginning to see the work he is doing with the coach to the Golf Union of Wales paying off.
In addition to that, a move to the unorthodox claw putting grip all added up to the former Welsh Amateur Champion carding a five under par 67 for an 18 under par total of 198 at Golf Sempachersee in Hildisrieden to share pole position going into the final round of the European Challenge Tour event with Olesen, who posted a 68.
“I was working with Pete Cowen and while Pete is a fantastic coach I just felt I needed to freshen things up which is why I started working with Neil and it’s been going great,” said Manley. “We’ve changed a few things, including going to the claw putting grip and so far so good.”
Manley has spent most of the season so far mixing and matching his tournament schedule between The European Tour and the Challenge Tour but admitted he is now going to concentrate on the Challenge Tour in a bid to finish in the top 20 at the end of the season.
“I’m currently 112th on the rankings but that can change with a couple of good performances and I’ve put myself into a good position here. I just hope I can go out and repeat my form of today in the final round.”
Certainly if he can do that, he will be a hard man to beat, the Welshman notching four birdies in five holes from the third in an outward half of 33 before adding further gains at the long 13th and the short 16th where his eight iron tee shot nestled six feet from the pin.
The man best placed to stop Manley’s title dream is Olesen and he certainly possesses the momentum to do just that having won in Sweden two weeks ago and finished third in France last week on his way to his current position of second on the Challenge Tour Rankings.
“I don’t really know what it is at the moment but I am enjoying playing well and I do have a lot of confidence in my game,” said Olesen, whose highlight in the third round came at the 591 yard fourth hole where he pitched in from 50 metres for an eagle three.
“I know a few of the Danish guys who play on The European Tour now like Søren Hansen who is a really nice guy and hopefully if I can get my card to play on the Tour next year, I can play a few practice rounds with them so they can help me.”
The destination of the 14th title of the 2010 European Challenge Tour season is by far a two horse race however with ten players within four shots of the leading duo. Heading the charge going into the final round are Spain’s Carlos del Moral and Julio Zapata of Argentina who carded matching third round 65s to finish in a share of third place on 17 under par 199.