It was all change at the top of the leaderboard after round three of the Peugeot Open de España as England’s Brian Davis came to the fore. A six under par 66 moved Davis to ten under, one stroke ahead of Austria’s Marcus Brier who in turn is a stroke ahead of Argentinian Eduardo Romero.
Romero burst from the pack with a scintillating 65 to equal the course record, but Davis was not to be headed, and his 33 out and the same number coming home gave him the lead going into the final day for the first time. Davis, understandably delighted with his round, is wary of a chasing pack including much experience, but also a number of players like himself looking for a breakthrough victory.
One such player is Marcus Brier who claimed second place after adding a 67 to his opening rounds of 69 and 70. Brier will be hoping he can become the first Austrian to win on the European Tour and feels it would do much for the sport in a nation containing just 11 professional golfers, but a healthy 55,000 amateurs.
Joining Davis and Brier in the final group after his splendid 65, Argentina’s Eduardo Romero is looking to end a spell of six years without a victory on the European Tour. His last win was in the 1994 Canon European Masters, but this does not reflect his remarkable consistency. Five top tens in 1999 ensured a tenth session out of eleven in which he has been inside the leading 50 in the Volvo Order of Merit. After his round Romero was singing the praises of his new Callaway ERC Driver which, he exclaimed “…goes like a plane, I’m hitting it 25 yards further than before”.
All three players in the final group will be very aware of a man lurking nearby at eight under par who has a better knowledge than most of what it takes to win on Tour. Despite continuing discontent with his putting, Colin Montgomerie is still in a very dangerous position just three shots off the lead. Holder of that lead, Brian Davis, is under no illusions that he will need to produce another good sub par round to fend off the challenge of the seven-time European number one. Montgomerie is tied in fourth spot with the top Spaniard Carlos Rodiles.
Rodiles is currently concentrating on the Challenge Tour and thus feels he has nothing to lose in the final round. His rounds so far have improved each day, 72,69,67 and if he continues that trend his focus could be changing to the main Tour. The local crowds will no doubt be cheering on Rodiles, but after a third round 66 which moved him into the top ten, they may be flocking to watch Sergio Garcia. Whilst he is aware that it will probably take the same or better to challenge for the title, who would bet against him achieving it.