Andrea Pavan strengthened his grip on both the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final and the Challenge Tour Rankings with a steady opening nine of 34 on the final day of the season-ending event.
The Italian mastered the blustery conditions at San Domenico Golf, his ‘home’ club in Puglia, to open up a three shot gap on the field.
Pavan wobbled with a bogey at the fifth hole, but made immediate amends with a birdie at the sixth to steady the ship and move back to 17 under par.
With Rankings rival Tommy Fleetwood struggling to a three over par front nine of 37, Pavan’s destiny is now firmly in his own hands.
England’s Andrew Johnston, chasing a place in the top 20 of the Rankings, is Pavan’s nearest challenger on 14 under par, having cancelled out his birdie at the fifth hole with a bogey at the tenth.
Fleetwood is currently in a share of third place on 13 under par alongside Spaniard Jorge Campillo, who was five under par for his round through 16 holes, and Sweden’s Pelle Edberg.