The Welsh team of Stephen Dodd and Bradley Dredge lead England and Sweden by two strokes going into the final round of the World Golf Championships – Algarve World Cup in Portugal as they look to win the title for Wales for the first time since 1987.
Dredge and Dodd again combined beautifully in the fourball format for an 11 under par 61 to move to 27 under par 189 at Victoria Clube de Golfe, Vilamoura, as they look to repeat the success of Ian Woosnam and David Llewellyn 18 years ago.
They will partner defending champions England in the final group after Luke Donald and David Howell posted a nine under par 63, a score matched by the Swedish pair of Niclas Fasth and Henrik Stenson.
But it is the Welsh dragons who are the team to catch. Three birdies apiece on the front nine took them out in 30 but it was an eagle on the 15th that separated the pair from the chasing nations. Dredge hit a fantastic drive to 35 feet and holed the put to catapult them into the lead. When, two holes later, Dredge found trouble, Dodd calmly hit the shot of the day, a towering three wood over the water to the heart of the 17th green to set up a birdie four to increase their lead.
If Wales were to go on and lift the John Jay Hopkins Trophy after the final foursomes session it would be by far their greatest achievement.
“We are in a very good position,” said Dredge. “Coming into this tournament we were both playing good golf and we have given ourselves a chance to go out and finish it off which is what we want to do.”
“Today was obviously a good day for us,” added Dodd. “ We combined really well and one of us always had a chance for a birdie, which is the key in fourball. But we are going to have to play well tomorrow and just do our best.”
England had chances to close the gap but Howell three putted the 17th from 45 feet after he too found the green and then left his birdie putt on the last in the jaws of the cup.
“The 17th was very frustrating,” admitted Howell. “I’m struggling to calm down from it to be honest. Anyone can three putt at any stage but it was a good opportunity for eagle, let alone birdie. In the fourball format, you have to pick up every shot you can but you can’t do everything right I guess. We are still in good shape and looking forward to tomorrow.”
“Two shots in the foursomes is nothing,” added Donald. “We are both very good putters and I think we’ll putt great tomorrow.”
Sweden finished the strongest of the three leading nations, picking up four birdies and an eagle in their last six holes to put themselves in contention to win the title for the first time since 1991.
“We’re in a good position, in good shape for tomorrow,” said Stenson. “I didn’t do too much today, but it was nice to step in with a good shot on the 16th for a birdie. We fought pretty well out there.”
France lifted themselves into fourth place with an 11 under par 61 to move to 22 under par, one stroke ahead of Denmark but Wales are the team to catch.