Monday, 24 July 2017
Francesco Laporta  (Getty Images)
Francesco Laporta (Getty Images)
Francesco Laporta’s outstanding finish earned him a one-shot lead at the KPMG Trophy after a third round of 67 took him to 15 under par overall at Royal Waterloo Golf Club.

The Italian birdied his last hole having made eagle on the 17th to pull clear of overnight leader and playing partner Pedro Oriol, with David Dixon also on 14 under par in a share of second place.

Laporta opened the season with a tie for third at the Barclays Kenya Open but has not reproduced that kind of form since, and the 26 year old acknowledged the importance of performing well again tomorrow as he seeks a maiden European Challenge Tour win.

“I think the last two are my favourite holes,” he said. “I’ve picked up a lot of shots on those holes this week – I was eagle-birdie today, I birdied them both yesterday and I finished birdie-eagle in Round One.

“I was playing perfectly all day so I just tried to stay focussed on every shot because I was thinking I could make birdie on every hole, but that was a very good finish.

“I just try to think about my game but today Pedro was playing perfectly too for the first nine holes. He lost it a little bit coming in but I was good at blocking out what he was doing and I’ll try to do the same tomorrow.

“I’m not thinking about the win, I’m just thinking about having a good result because my category is so low I’m mainly just playing on invites at the moment.

“I’m trying to do my best but it’s better if I don’t think about the win, just try to focus on playing the best golf of my life and hoping that will be enough.

“I hope I’m not too nervous but I think tomorrow it may not be as easy to make as many birdies. I’ll just try to give myself as many chances as possible, but you never know what will be enough so I won’t be setting myself any target, just going shot by shot.”

Spaniard Oriol initially set the pace, driving the green on the second hole for an eagle that extended his lead to three shots, but, in perfect scoring conditions in Belgium, he did not make a birdie after the turn and ultimately surrendered his advantage.

For England’s Dixon, it was a near-perfect Moving Day, beginning with three straight birdies and eventually signing for the joint lowest round of the day, a seven under par 65, that took him alongside Oriol in second place.

One shot behind them is Austria’s Martin Wiegele, with Estanislao Goya and Kalle Samooja sharing fifth spot on 12 under par.

A group of seven players hover on 11 under par, just four shots off Laporta’s lead and well within range of a final day assault on the leaderboard, while Kevin Hesbois, the leading Belgian, remains on six under par after a third round of 72.

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