Pierre Relecom used his local knowledge to superb effect in a rousing round of 66 to surge into contention on the third day of the Telenet Trophy.
Like his younger sibling Jean, who notched a hole in one on the opening day of the €160,000 event, Relecom was born and raised a stone’s throw from Royal Waterloo Golf Club, where both brothers are attached.
Relecom started the day languishing in 49th place, but moved to within two strokes of the lead after carding seven birdies and a solitary bogey on a calmer day in the Belgian capital.
He said: “I actually played very well yesterday from tee to green yesterday, but just couldn’t hole anything. I had 36 putts whereas my playing partner Tommy Fleetwood only had 23, so that’s why he was leading the tournament and I was well down the leaderboard! But after the round I worked on my putting stroke, and this morning I picked up the speed of the greens straight away.
“I got off to a good start but probably the turning point was on the ninth, where I hit my drive into the trees but managed to hit a recovery shot which even Seve would’ve been proud of. I rolled in the birdie putt then birdied the next two, and all of a sudden my confidence was up. It was disappointing to bogey the 16th but it’s a tough hole, and I also should’ve birdied the 17th but missed a short putt. But it was great to birdie the last get myself right back into the tournament.
“I had quite a few club members, few friends and family following me today, so it was nice to play well in front of them. I had an early tee time this morning, but I should be off a bit later tomorrow, so hopefully a few more will come out and watch. I maybe put a little too much pressure on myself on the first two days, but I felt nice and relaxed today and just went out and enjoyed myself. If I can keep the same attitude tomorrow, hopefully I can have another good day. Another 66 would be very nice!”
Early moves were made by Jason Palmer, who birdied his first three holes to move to seven under par, and Portugal’s José-Filipe, who covered the front nine in 32 to trail the Englishman by two strokes.
Overnight leader Tommy Fleetwood of England got off to a sluggish start with an opening bogey to drop back to five under par, but steadied the ship with a birdie at the third hole to move back to six under.
Lima was joined on five under par by Italian Federico Colombo and Denmark’s Daniel Lokke, who picked up one and three shots respectively from their first three holes.