Matteo Delpodio and Nicolo Ravano will leave their life-long friendship on the first tee tomorrow as they go to-to-toe for the Fred Olsen Challenge de España title.
The Italian duo posted respective third round scores of 66 and 65 at Tecina Golf to enable Delpodio to establish a 14 under par aggregate and a one-stroke lead over his old friend, with the trio of Moritz Lampert, Andrew Johnston and Joel Sjöholm tied in third place on 12 under.
Ravano’s 65 looked as though it could have been even better after a stunning front nine saw him make six birdies, two pars and a bogey to make the turn in 31.
Not to be out done by his friend, Delpodio turned on the style himself, picking up five birdies on his outward half. Ravano came home in one under with Delpodio level for the back nine to leave the pair at the top of the leaderboard.
Both 28 years old and born just five days apart, Delpodio and Ravano have experience very similar journeys in the world of golf, playing together as kids and coming through the system before making their way in the professional game in the Alps Tour and now upon the Challenge Tour.
“Matteo and I are very close because we have played golf since we were kids, and have followed same steps,” said Ravano. “I moved to Torino so we practise together, travel together and have a strong friendship
“I am very pleased. It’s been a long time since I am in this position, very happy to be there, if I play like today I can have a good chance tomorrow.”
Delpodio is well aware of the depth of talent among the chasing pack behind him, and knows he cannot afford to offer any friendly chances to Ravano or any of the players looking to knock him off the top of the leaderboard.
“I am happy to be in this position but I know I cannot relax because there are so many players out there with good chances. Even yesterday’s leader is still in contention, and he is dangerous for tomorrow.
“It is not going to be an easy day tomorrow. Today I tried not to care much about scores, just my game, shot by shot. This worked well for me today and I will try and keep the same game plan tomorrow but it will be tough.”