Sean Crocker shot ten under par 62 to set a new course record at Zhailjau Golf Resort and will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Kazakhstan Open presented by ERG.
The American did not drop a shot and made ten birdies on Moving Day to jump to 20 under par through three rounds at the lucrative European Challenge Tour event.
“I played really well, I hit a lot of good shots and made a lot of good putts,” he said. “It was probably one of the best rounds I’ve played in some time, if not, ever.
“It was a lot of fun. I want to say it was stress-free, but it is kind of stressful when you’re playing so well and you want to keep the momentum going.”
After turning in 31 and birdieing five of his first six holes on the back nine, the 22 year old began to have thoughts about golf’s magic number.
“On hole 15, I thought about shooting 59,” he said. “But then on 16 and 17 they had some tough pins and they were tough holes, so it was in my mind but then went out of it really quickly.”
Playing in only his seventh Challenge Tour event, Crocker has already shown flashes of brilliance. Following a made-cut at The 147th Open Championship, he travelled to Austria the very next week and lead the Euram Bank Open through the first and second rounds before finishing in a tie for third place.
Now, the Florida resident will have a golden opportunity to get the job done and take home the €72,000 winner’s cheque, which would immediately move him into the coveted top 15 on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah — a fact he prefers not to think about.
“I’m just going to come out tomorrow and try to do the same things,” he said. “Nothing different really, just play some golf.”
Playing with Crocker in the final round will be Liam Johnston, who has proven he knows how to win head-to-head battles after triumphing at the Andalucia – Costa del Sol Match Play 9 earlier this year for his first-career Challenge Tour victory. The Scot carded an impressive 64 on Day Three and sits on 19 under par for the tournament.
A duo of 2018 Challenge Tour winners from England will form the penultimate pairing, including last week’s Bridgestone Challenge winner, Tom Lewis, who is two back on 18 under par and looking to win his second-consecutive event. Prague Golf Challenge winner Ben Stow sits three back on 17 under par.
When the winner of the Kazakhstan Open presented by ERG is crowned tomorrow, it could set off a potentially massive shift on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah. None of the players currently inside the top 10 hold one of the first 15 positions on the season-long Rankings, which means that the list of players projected to graduate onto the European Tour might look very different by the week’s end.
The high-stakes final round begins tomorrow at 7:20 am local time with Crocker and Johnston set to tee off at 12:37 pm.