Friday, 21 August 2015
Nacho Elvira ()
Nacho Elvira ()

Nacho Elvira carded a three under par third round 69 to maintain his lead at the ROLEX Trophy and edge ever-closer to a career-changing third European Challenge Tour victory of the season, which would earn automatic graduation to The European Tour.

The gap at the top of the leaderboard was reduced though as New Zealander Ryan Fox signed for a five under par 67 to move to within two shots of the Spaniard, but Elvira is sure to take confidence from his final round performances en route to his brace of wins this season.

On the way to claiming his first title of the season at the Challenge de Madrid, the 28 year old holed an incredible albatross in the final round to blitz the field on home soil, while a six under final round 65 at the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda helped him to a second win in as many months.

If the Madrid player were to repeat those feats and add another title to his trophy cabinet at Golf Club de Genève, he would be the third player in five years to earn fast-track promotion to The Race to Dubai at the prestigious ROLEX Trophy.

Frenchman Benjamin Hebert and Swede Kristoffer Broberg both completed their hat-trick of victories in a single season at the Geneva venue in 2011 and 2012, respectively, but Elvira insists that he is just trying to enjoy his current good form. 

“It would be great to get a third win but I am not too caught up in all of that,” said Elvira, whose three-round total of 19 under par equals the winning score of last year’s winner and current BMW PGA Champion Byeong-hun An. 

“Ever since I got my second win, I am trying not to think about it. I am just trying to enjoy the position I’m in and hopefully tomorrow will be a good day – hopefully sunny like it has been the last three days.

“I obviously played really good all day. The front nine was flawless but on the back nine, some shots were not as accurate. 

“I had a couple of bad breaks. On the 15th, my tee shot went into the rough and it was a terrible lie so I made a bogey. Then on the 17th, I guess we mis-clubbed it. 

“I hit a really good shot, right over the pin and it was 30 yards longer so I guess there was a big gust of wind and I wasn’t able to get up and down. But overall it was a good day, I cannot complain.”

As it is a unique Pro-Am format, Elvira will not be playing alongside his other contenders to the throne but instead with three amateur players, and he believes that that will ease the pressure a little.

“I guess it will be great playing in the last group but not with my closest challengers,” he said. “Honestly, it is great not to have to think about how the other guys are playing. I will enjoy the company tomorrow, enjoy the guys I will be playing with and that is when I play my best golf.”

Fox, who has one Challenge Tour title under his belt already this year, is also relishing the unusual format on the final day and has been thoroughly enjoying the week in Switzerland.

“We had a great day,” said the 28 year old, son of All Black legend Grant. “It was a great team again, we had a lot of fun and as we were first group in the morning so it was a bit faster than yesterday. The greens firmed up a little bit today I thought and there were rolling really well this morning.

“It will be different tomorrow to be playing for a win without my opponent, but everyone is relaxed out there, we are all playing good golf and obviously there are some really hot scores out there. 

“I would like to make a go of it tomorrow but it will be weird not to have much an idea of what is going on. But I do love the format and, providing Nacho doesn't do something silly on the back nine, I should have a chance tomorrow.”

Lurking one shot further back on 16 under are Englishman Ryan Evans and current Road to Oman Rankings leader Ricardo Gouveia, who has one Challenge Tour title to his name this year and for whom a strong result this week would make the promising 24 year old the highest-ranked Portuguese player in the history of the Official World Golf Ranking.

 

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