A change of putter seems to be doing the trick for Englishman Sam Hutsby, who fired a six under par 66 in a weather-affected third round of the Rolex Trophy to take a one shot lead.
Play could not be completed on Friday because of severe thunderstorms around Geneva Golf Club, leaving 16 groups still to complete the third round, which will resume on Saturday morning.
Hutsby made the most of the benign morning conditions to reach 15 under, one ahead of Frenchman Benjamin Hebert, who is chasing a hat-trick of Challenge Tour victories this season and carded a one under par 71. Spaniard Jorge Campillo signed for a 67 to get to 12 under alongside Austrian Florian Praegant (72), one shot behind Tommy Fleetwood who was level par after 12 holes.
Hutbsy, a 2009 Walker Cup player, said last week was the worst putting performance of his career, and he returned to a tried and tested old putter for this tournament. It has helped him to scores of 65 and 70 before today’s 66, and he is relishing being in contention to win a maiden Challenge Tour title.
“I made a bad start by missing an eight-footer for birdie at the 11th – my second hole – and then hit my drive out of bounds on the 12th and ended up with a double bogey,” he said. “But the next hole I holed out from about 20 feet for birdie and that settled me right down.
“I played the back nine extremely well and had chances on every hole. I really didn’t want to fall back into the pack so it was nice to get a few birdies on the card. I haven’t been in this position this season and I didn’t want to let it slip away.
“It’s exciting to be in contention and I’ve just got to hope that tomorrow I have another day like today and the first round on the greens.”
Hebert had back-to-back victories earlier this summer but could not take many positives from today’s round of one under par 71.
He said: “One under was actually a good score considering how badly I played today. My putting in particular was very bad – I missed many puts. I’m not very happy. Tomorrow will have to be much better.”
The best of the day came from André Bossert, who had six birdies and an eagle for a seven under par 65 to propel him into seventh place.
Bossert said: “I’ve turned a corner with my putting, which has been awful for the last two months. I’ve been hitting it well but if you can’t hole the putts you’re never going to shoot low. And this is a course where you need to be putting well to stand a chance.
“The eagle at the eighth was the highlight – I ran my second shot in with a rescue club and holed a putt from eight metres. My best score is 62 so I was trying to beat that, but unfortunately it didn’t quite come off and it was disappointing to finish with a bogey.”