Marc Warren belied extremely windy conditions with a stunning round of five under par to share the lead with Bradley Dredge going into the final day of the inaugural Made in Denmark.
Gusts of up to 30mph made scoring at Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort fiendishly difficult but the Scot carded eight birdies, three consecutively from the 13th with some crisp putting, for a brilliant 66.
That made him the clubhouse leader while Dredge played the closing holes and Warren was briefly at the front on his own when the Welshman bogeyed the par four 15th. However, overnight front-runner Dredge recovered with a birdie three at the 17th for a two over par 73, putting him back alongside Warren on six under.
While playing the last hole the final trio of Dredge, Denmark’s Thorbjørn Olesen and Englishman Simon Wakefield had to temporarily head for the practice range after a TV volunteer required medical attention on the 18th.
Dredge, a two-time European Tour winner chasing his first title since the 2006 Omega European Masters, said: “It was a tough day, but I’m still joint leader which is a great position. All I can do is give it my best tomorrow.
“The finish was difficult. Nobody likes to see that kind of thing. The gentleman is ok and hopefully he will make a full recovery.”
Warren, who won the second of his two European Tour titles at the 2007 Johnnie Walker Championship and sits 33rd in the Race to Dubai, said: “Even driving here you could see the wind was a lot stronger than the first two days. I knew it would be a battle today.
“Obviously Bradley was a bit ahead and I was hoping it was going to be a bit tougher. If it was easier he could have pulled away. So overall I’m delighted. To shoot 66 today, I probably couldn’t have hoped for that before.
“I felt a bit out of sync to start and hit a couple of loose shots. Then I hit a good second shot to the third and from thereon I played some good golf. I kind of enjoy this style of golf, hitting some low shots.”
Warren is in fine form having tied for 15th at last week’s US PGA Championship and finished outright third in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, with a share of 39th at The Open Championship coming in between.
“It’s been a good summer for me. I’ve played consistently well,” he added.
“The Scottish Open was a very good week for me and then I continued to perform at The Open. I didn’t have a great Sunday there but the US PGA was great last week, finishing top 15.
“So confidence is high, the game is in good shape and to shoot a score like that, in a day as tough as today, just adds to the confidence again.”
Dredge, who is slowly regaining his form after an injury ravaged 2013 campaign, on Friday birdied four out of his last six holes to open up a four stroke lead at the halfway mark.
Like many others, the 41 year old struggled in the blustery conditions on Saturday with four bogeys alongside two gains.
His score for the day was still creditable in such high winds, with the nearest challengers to the leaders being Wakefield and Gareth Maybin of Northern Ireland on three under.
Maybin, who tied for 51st at the Scottish Open a week after sharing 45th at the Alstom Open de France, said: “The wind suits me with my low ball flight. I guess growing up in Northern Ireland helps when you have some wind.
“I’ve been playing well over the last few months and the numbers haven’t been too bad.
“I’ll be off in the last couple of groups tomorrow and it will get the juices flowing again, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Maybin and Wakefield were one shot ahead of Olesen, England’s Phillip Archer and Stuart Manley of Wales.
Thomas Björn, who like countryman Olesen attracted a large following among an impressive crowd of 20,900, was in a group of five one stroke further back.
Björn, who shot two over par, said: “I thought I played alright. The putter never really got going and it was literally impossible on some of the open greens. The putter went all over the place.
“It was a very, very difficult day. It was disappointing, and I didn’t take advantage of the chances that I had.
“I let a few slip on other holes, which happens in golf, but you just carry on and I will try to put in a low round tomorrow and put some pressure on.”