On a day of wickedly difficult scoring conditions at the Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf and Spa, England’s Lloyd Kennedy and Frenchman Benjamin Hebert produced the best scores of the day move into a share of the lead at the English Challenge.
With a swirling crosswind making life extremely difficult at Stoke by Nayland, Kennedy produced an outstanding display of golf, posting a brilliant six under par 66 to make huge strides towards the top of the leaderboard.
The Englishman went to the turn in one under par 35 before turning on the style over the back nine of the Gainsborough Course at Stoke by Nayland, ignoring the tricky conditions to conjure five birdies – four of which came in his last five holes – to come home in 31.
Hebert, arguably the man in the best form on the Challenge Tour following his victory in last week’s Credit Suisse Challenge, then posted a fine four under par 68 to join Kennedy in the ten under lead going into the final round.
Matthew Baldwin and Carl Suneson lead the chasing pack on nine under with a further six players tied on eight under. It should be a thrilling final round with no less than 23 players – including first and second round leader Jamie Moul – within four shots of the lead.
“That came as a bit of a surprise,” smiled Kennedy after signing for his 66. “It was very tough out there today - it was a different win to the last few days and it was blowing a lot stronger that it had done previously.
“To shoot 66 in those conditions was a pretty decent knock and I have done exactly what I set out to do at the start of the day: given myself a real chance to win which is all you can ask for heading into the final round.”
Hebert is clearly a man on a high following his win in Switzerland last week. He is now looking to emulate his country man Edouard Dubois by becoming the second two-time winner on the Challenge Tour and the first player since Iain Pyman in 2007 to win back-to-back on the Challenge Tour.
“Hopefully I can follow Dubois – although if I do it in the space of seven days then it is better than him because it took him three weeks to win two!
“Seriously though, I am very happy with the round today. It was very difficult with the wind – I would say that it was affecting yardages by two full clubs so scoring was difficult.
“I hope the experience of winning last week will help me tomorrow. I think the more occasions that you are in such a situation then the more comfortable you feel. I am very confident in my game at the moment and that will help me too.”