Raphaël Jacquelin had his lead at the Sicilian Open reduced from three to one late in the day as the final round spilled into Monday.
Two and a half hours of dangerous weather before the leaders had even teed off led to a Monday finish, and it promises to be an exciting one after the Frenchman bogeyed his final hole of the day.
The 36 year old had been making serene progress in his search for a first European Tour title since 2007 up until that point, but his miss from six feet at the par five 12th could prove crucial in the race to the €166,660 prize.
Anthony Wall remains Jacquelin’s nearest challenger at Donnafugata Golf Resort & SPA, the Englishman reaching ten under for the week with a birdie at the 12th before play was halted for the day.
Wall began the day by wiping out Jacquelin's one stroke overnight lead with a birdie at the first.
But his playing partner was back in front with a gain of his own at the second.
Jacquelin then birdied the fifth and splashed his third shot from the sand to four feet at the par five seventh.
Wall also birdied the seventh, but gave the shot back two holes later.
However, in rapidly deteriorating light there was a two shot swing, leaving everything to play for over the closing six holes.
“It was a little bit frustrating to bogey the 12th before we finished there but it was actually a good bogey so I can’t have too many complaints,” said Jacquelin.
“I am two under for the round and have a one shot lead so we will come back and do it all again in the morning. I played well though and holed more putts today even though it was difficult to get the pace of the greens because of the weather.”
Speaking of the delay which kept the leading groups off the course until mid-afternoon he added: “It was okay. It was long but the main thing that affects you in that situation is that fact that you are playing a round that you know you have no chance to finish.
“That is the toughest thing to deal with but I did that pretty well. 14 years on Tour makes you accept most of these things. I’ll be okay.”
Wall admitted that the late change of momentum had given him renewed hope.
“That was very important to have that two shot swing because Raph has been exemplary for the last two days,” said Wall.
“He is striking the ball very well. He is on the money every time and I have to be honest and tell you that I am feeling a little bit rusty having had the last three weeks off.
“I have let two or three shots go which is unlike me so for him to hit that hook on the 12th helped me a lot because he hasn’t had many like that.”
Wall, who has been aided with his putting by a 59 pence iphone application this week, admitted he has spent even less on a psychology lesson.
“I had a good chat to the wife this morning and she told me where I could improve in a couple of areas,” he added.
“She pointed a couple of things out and she was right and I think it helped me. I’m doing it on the cheap aren’t I? But it has helped and hopefully will do tomorrow.”
Lara was four under for his final round, thanks largely to a hattrick of birdies from the fifth, but the Spaniard has just three holes left to play.
Sweden’s Joel Sjöholm is in fourth - and the clubhouse lead - on seven under par after a 69.
|T3||LARA, José Manuel||ESP||18||-7|