Denmark’s Lasse Jensen will take a share of the lead into the final round of the Barclays Kenya Open after carding a stunning six under par 65 on day three at Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi.
The 27 year old sits alongside Englishman Gary Lockerbie, who had a fine 67, and the pair are three shots clear of their respective compatriots Morten Orum Madsen of Denmark and England's Seve Benson, who eagled the last for a 71 and Jordan Gibb, who signed for a 67.
Jensen’s swashbuckling performance, which featured birdies at the third, sixth, ninth, tenth, 13th and 18th, ensured there was still a Dane atop the leaderboard, although this was at the expense of Madsen, leader for the first two rounds, who struggled to a one over par 72.
“I just managed today to keep my head down and hit fairways and greens,” said Jensen. “When I missed I got it up and down - my short game saved me when I needed it and that keeps momentum.
“My putting to save pars really kept me going and I think that was the key because then you don’t think about a round of three or four or five or six under, you’re just thinking about the next hole. Then suddenly you’re finished and I’m thinking, ‘Six under on this course! That’s a great score’.
“It’s very demanding and you need some good breaks where it kicks your way and I obviously got those today, but I’m just very pleased to be in contention in the third tournament of the season. I’m very happy it has happened so soon.”
Jensen has limited experience of leading a Challenge Tour event, but he believes he has learned a lot in the last year which will stand him in good stead for the final round.
“You really need to enjoy these times in this game because it can be so tough,” he added. “I was far up the leaderboard at the ECCO Tour Championship (last August) and was in the lead at a certain point, so I got the feel for it.
“This year I played some winter tours and got two wins out of four and that helps when you’re in contention. You learn a lot about yourself, how you react and how you swing when you’re under pressure, and the more you’re in that situation the more it becomes habit.”
Lockerbie had six birdies and two bogeys and was delighted with his position.
“I made a solid start with a birdie at the second and just kept going from there,” said the 29 year old. “Towards the end I would have liked to carry on and played my fourth round. I missed a lot of putts early on in the week and I've left a couple out there today, but no one makes them all. It certainly is a nice position to be in.
“I’m looking forward to it and hopefully I can come out on top. The aim was just to try and get in that final group for tomorrow and I’ve done that, so hopefully I’ll wake up in a good mood tomorrow.”
Madsen did well to bounce back from a torrid start, birdieing three in a row from the fourth after bogeying the first three holes – all from three-putts – but needed back-to-back birdies on the 17th and 18th to rescue his round, which was marred by a double bogey at the par three 13th.
“I played pretty well but I just couldn’t make a putt to save my life,” said Madsen. “I missed a bunch of short ones inside four or five feet so it was tough. I'm glad for those birdies coming in, which give me an outside shot going into tomorrow.”
Local favourite Dismas Indisa’s steady progress was undone by a bogey at the 14th and a triple bogey at the 15th for a disappointing 74. However, Brian Njoroge’s level par 71 means a Kenyan remains in contention as he sits in tied sixth on four under.