Andrea Pavan will take a one stroke lead into the final round of the Bad Griesbach Challenge Tour by Hartl Resort after a Saturday 66 in Germany.
The Italian is 15 under par and a single stroke clear of France’s Victor Riu, who had led after the first two rounds, while Dutchman Daan Huizing is also handily placed a shot further back in third.
Pavan has finished in the top five the last two weeks on the Challenge Tour, and that fine form has continued in Bad Griesbach so far this week. In the third round he managed to cut out the mistakes that had cost him the previous two days, and as such, was able to carve out a narrow advantage at the top of the leaderboard.
“It’s funny, because the scorecard doesn’t always show what your game is like,” said Pavan. “Before the round I was struggling a little with my grips, so I asked my caddie to clean them as they were a bit slippy. I struggled a little at the beginning of the round, but my wedge game was sharp, and I made a couple of good putts, which helps.”
“On the back nine I almost holed my third shot on the tenth, it was just short of the hole, but it got easier towards the end of the round as there was no wind, and after the rain the greens slowed down a bit, which also needed an adjustment.
“I managed to make some long putts, one on 18 from 12 feet for par, but I hit it close with my wedges all day, and when I missed I always got it back into play, and managed to give myself a good look at par. I didn’t take too many risks off the tee, and just tried to give myself as many chance as I could, and I’m happy that I did that.
“I’ve been in this position a few times and would love to win tomorrow, but I can’t control that and I just have to go out tomorrow and put it in play, hit it close, and make as many putts as I can. But I’m excited for tomorrow, it should be nice.”
In second place is Riu who got off to a slow start after a few problems with his putter, and an early bogey at the fourth had seen the overnight leader fall back into the pack.
The Frenchman rallied round the turn though, carding three birdies in a row from the tenth to get himself right back into contention, and pars coming in on the tricky finishing holes mean that he will start the final day a shot back of Pavan in second place.
“I struggled a lot with my putting on the front nine, so I’m a bit disappointed, as my game was really solid today. I hit 17 greens, but I had too many putts, especially on the first nine.
“It was good for my confidence to make the three birdies around the turn, to come back with a good feeling, and my putting was much better as a result. I’m still confident, so we will see.
“I am only one shot behind, and it will be nice to be aggressive tomorrow. I’ve not been in this position before, but it is very good to be here and, of course, I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
A shot further back is Daan Huizing, who is another man in good form after a tie for second last week at the Karnten Golf Open presented by Mazda, having only turned professional last October.
Huizing is one stroke clear of three players in a tie for fourth, including Edouard Dubois, Eirik Tage Johansen, and Marco Crespi, who like his compatriot Pavan, shot a six under par round of 66 on Saturday.
The round of the day was reserved for England’s Kenneth Ferrie though, as the two time European Tour winner carded a seven under par 65 early on Saturday morning, including a bogey at the last, to haul himself into contention.
It was a great recovery from the Englishman, who posted a quadruple bogey eight on his last hole, the ninth, yesterday afternoon, and he is now in position to compete for a first Challenge Tour win.
Alongside Ferrie in a tie for seventh is also Norway’s Knut Borsheim, England’s Lloyd Kennedy and Australia's Terry Pilkadaris, who are all ten under par.
While the trio of Chris Hanson, Pierre Relecom and Jeppe Huldahl are all going to have to go low to challenge for the title tomorrow, as they start the final day in a tie for 11th at nine under par.