Richard McEvoy will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels & Resorts after carding a four under par 67 on day three in Aviemore.
The experienced Englishman began the day three strokes behind overnight leader Mikael Lundberg, but after a run of four birdies in six holes, the 38 year old shot into first place.
Four further gains, offset by four bogeys, meant the 38 year old finished the day on eleven under par overall – one ahead of his nearest rival Lundberg.
Although he is in front by the narrowest of margins, McEvoy is confident that he can return to the winner’s circle at Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Club tomorrow.
“My game has been very good all year,” said McEvoy, who finished fifth in last month’s Lyoness Open powered by ORGANIC.
“I feel very good about all parts of my game, apart from the odd swing here and there.
“I got off to a very good start. I hit it really close on the first, then I made a good birdie from ten foot at the second. I made another birdie at the par five fifth then rolled in a great putt on the sixth from 25 feet for another.
“I was four under after six – so obviously a great start from me. I dropped a silly shot on the eighth but bounced back with birdies at nine and ten. I made another silly bogey at the 11th but again I managed to bounce back with a pair of birdies at the 12th and 13th.
“My highlight was definitely that birdie on the 12th – I must have picked up around one and a half shots on the rest of the field because it was such a difficult hole.
“I haven’t played on the Challenge Tour since Oman three years ago, so it is a really nice week to come back.
“It’s a typical British course. I grew up playing links golf so I love courses like this where you have to get the ball in play – it’s not all about how far you hit it.”
McEvoy, who won his only Challenge Tour title at the Panasonic Panama Open in 2004, admits he will be tense heading into the final day, but believes fate may be on side in Aviemore.
“Everyone gets nervous,” he said. “Obviously I’ll be trying to win – if you don’t get nervous you don’t care about it. Hopefully I can control those nerves and continue to keep making birdies.
“My roommate this week is the defending champion James Heath – so that must be a good omen.”
Sweden’s Lundberg trails McEvoy by one, while South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen is three shots off the lead on eight under par overall.
Switzerland’s Marco Iten continued his excellent form in Aviemore, following up his eight under par round of 63 yesterday by posting a three under par score of 68 to move to seven under overall.