Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Challenge de España as he goes in search of his maiden European Challenge Tour victory.
The Spaniard carded a round of 68, four under par, to break away from fellow overnight leaders Marcus Armitage, Rasmus Højgaard and Martin Simonsen, topping the leaderboard on ten under par total, as looks to become the fourth homegrown winner of the event as it celebrates its 20th anniversary.
Garcia Rodriguez’s best finish on the Challenge Tour was tied fourth at the 2015 Swiss Challenge, however, following his third consecutive round under par, he is in pole position to clinch his inaugural Challenge Tour title on home soil.
The 30-year-old made a quick start to his third round with a birdie on the first hole before bouncing back from a dropped shot on the second with a gain on the third. Like the weather, Garcia Rodriguez’s putter remained hot as he made two more birdies to extend his lead ahead of the turn.
With playing partners Armitage and Simonsen struggling, the Spaniard holed his fifth birdie of the day on the tenth before carding eight consecutive pars to end round three in pole position at Izki Golf.
“It was perfect,” he said. “My game was very solid, and I only had one bogey. The bogey was a three-putt, but I made a great birdie to bounce back from it, plus a few more, then made lots of pars.
“To win would be special. There are so many good players here this week and there are two good players at eight under behind me, so I’ll take it hole by hole and see what happens tomorrow.
“This course is so difficult, so it is very important to hit a good tee shot with my driver, which makes my second shot easier. The key to playing well here is putting and driving, because there is so much rough.
“The key for tomorrow is the same feeling; good drives, good second shots and good putting.”
Simonsen carded a two under par round of 70, including an eagle on the par five eighth to lie two strokes behind and remain in the hunt for his first Challenge Tour title. Joining the Dane in a share of second place is England’s Ben Stow, who signed for a round of 68, four under par, which included a birdie on the last.
Sweden’s Simon Forsström, Højgaard of Denmark, and Frenchman Antoine Rozner are a further shot back on seven under par. While Lukas Nemecz shot the low round of the week with a six under par round of 66 to be one of five players four strokes off the leader.