Dean Burmester’s lead at the AEGEAN Airlines Challenge Tour by Hartl Resort was cut to one on moving day over the Beckenbauer Course as the South African prepares for an almighty battle in the sweltering German heat on the final day.
The 26 year old had gained a three-shot advantage over the opening two days in Bad Griesbach but a one under par third round 70, which moved him to 13 under, means he will have his work cut out on Sunday to claim a maiden European Challenge Tour title.
The adrenalin and the nerves still pump after four wins - if they don’t I think there is something wrong with you - so I’m really excited
One of those breathing down his neck is in-form Frenchman Sebastien Gros, who equalled the eight under par course record of 63 despite suffering two bogeys in the opening four holes and moved to within one of the summit on 12 under.
The Lyon player currently sits second in the Road to Oman Rankings having won the Najeti Open Presented by Neuflize OBC three weeks ago and victory here would virtually secure his graduation to The European Tour for the 2016 season.
Burmester, however, is an experienced winner and has four Sunshine Tour titles under his belt, two of those coming earlier this year.
He remains confident that he can lift the trophy his close friend and compatriot Jake Roos claimed this time last year and, with his first baby due in just two weeks, it would be a perfect way to end his mid-summer stint in Europe before flying home to be with his wife.
“I scraped through today,” said the Zimbabwe-born player. “I played really solidly and held it together tee to green but I just couldn’t get it in the hole. It’s one of those things, I saw a couple of guys did really well and kudos to them because the course played really different today.
“This is what we practice for, to have a chance on Sunday and I’ve given myself that chance with three good days. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have another one and I can lift the trophy at the end.
Dean Burmester lining up a putt at the ninth hole
“I think I’m going to feed off those previous experiences and I think the two wins I got this year really helped me to grind it out today when the putts weren’t dropping - just telling myself to stay patient and wait for my chances out there. It didn’t happen today so hopefully I’ve saved it all for tomorrow.
“I have a baby due on the 17th of July so we’ll see if it comes early or not but on Sunday night I’ll catch a flight back home and spend some time with the wife and the rest of my family and it’ll be nice family time.
“The goal when I came was to go home with a trophy. After a poor performance in Saint Omer I reassessed my goals quite drastically, but I’ve obviously played well this week and put myself into position to get a title tomorrow.
“The adrenalin and the nerves still pump - if they don’t I think there is something wrong with you - so I’m really excited.”
Gros, who was one of the real heartbreak stories of last year’s European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage – bogeying the final three holes in the final round at PGA Catalunya Resort to miss out on a card by one –was thrilled with his round and is delighted to be in this position again so soon after his first victory.
I want to taste that winning feeling again
“That is my best round of the year,” he said. “I did have a seven under in Madrid but that’s definitely my best moving day.
“I want to taste that winning feeling again and when I was two over through five today I would never have thought I would be in contention by the end of the day.
“I just have to try to get a score under par because to get four scores under par in a week is a good week no matter what.”
Alongside Gros in second place is Hugues Joannes, who carded six birdies on the way to a four under 67, and the Belgian is relishing the opportunity of battling for a first career title.
Hugues Joannes (l) is congratulated by his caddie after his third round
“Everything seemed to be going in midway through my round,” said the 26 year old. “I could have holed a couple more on 16 and 17 but overall it was very nice. I didn’t have many putts today.
“It seems like everything is coming together but there is still a long way to go. It’s nice to have an opportunity now. I haven’t been in too many of these situations and I just want to enjoy what I’m doing and learn whenever I go out there, so I’m excited about tomorrow.”
Portugal’s Ricardo Gouveia is just a shot further back on 11 under par, after a two under 69, as he hopes to capitalise on his extremely consistent form this season while Englishman Paul Howard is in sole possession of fifth place on nine under par having also carded a 69.