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Saturday, 12 May 2018
Everything came together around the turn - Mike Lorenzo-Vera

Mike Lorenzo-Vera fired a stunning 63 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Rocco Forte Sicilian Open.

The Frenchman produced a brilliant 64 in high winds on Friday at Verdura Golf Club and he went one better on a calm moving day to get to 15 under and lead the way from countryman Julien Guerrier and Swede Joakim Lagergren.

Dane Lucas Bjerregaard was then at 12 under, three shots clear of local favourite Andrea Pavan and England's Andy Sullivan.

Lorenzo-Vera won the Challenge Tour in 2007 but last season was his best campaign on the European Tour as he finished 35th on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.

He finished in the top ten at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters earlier this season and after playing some sparkling golf at last week's GolfSixes alongside Romain Wattel, he is in now in pole position to challenge for a first European Tour title.

"If I bring the good game, I can win for sure," he said. "If someone just doesn't go crazy and shoot ten under if it's good weather, I'll have a really good chance.

"I think it was better today. Everything came together around the turn so it was cool. It was easier for sure but in that case you have to be careful because you can lose your focus and you know someone is going to shoot low so you just have to play the game and try to keep calm, wait for the birdies to come."

Lagergren is also looking for win number one after matching Lorenzo-Vera's 63, as is Guerrier who signed for a 67.

Pavan was the first man to join overnight leader Guerrier as he made a blistering five-birdie start and Ryan Evans soon made it a three-way tie with a birdie on the fourth.

A 15-footer on the fourth got Guerrier into double-figures and it would then be playing partners Lagergren and Lorenzo-Vera who chased him down, with Lorenzo-Vera making the most of the second and Lagergren birdieing the second and third.

Lagergren hit a stunning approach to the sixth and holed an 18-footer on the seventh, with Lorenzo-Vera following him in, and the 26 year old shared the lead when he made it three in a row from six feet on the eighth.

If I bring the good game, I can win for sure - Mike Lorenzo-Vera

The three-time Qualifying School graduate led on his own as he took advantage of the par five next, with Lorenzo-Vera once again following him in, and then made a ten-footer on the tenth to make it five in a row and hold a two-shot lead.

Guerrier put his second inside 12 feet on the ninth for an eagle and a share of the lead, and an approach to tap-in range on the next meant he was once again ahead.

Lorenzo-Vera holed from six feet on the 11th before both he and Lagergren birdied the par five 12th, and a fortunate bounce on the 13th brought a tap-in birdie and a share of the lead to the 33 year old.

Guerrier edged back ahead as he capitalised on the 12th but a lengthy putt on the 15th from Lorenzo-Vera made it an all-French tie at the top.

A 12-footer from Lagergren on the 16th made it a three-way tie once more but, not for the first time on Saturday, Lorenzo-Vera followed him in to lead alone.

Lagergren bogeyed the 17th and that was the only dropped shot in his grouping with Lorenzo-Vera as both men parred the last.

Guerrier failed to get up and down on the last after a poor second and his first bogey of the week handed Lorenzo-Vera a cushion heading into Sunday.

A poor tee-shot on the first saw Bjerregaard surrender a double-bogey but he fought back well, adding an eagle on the ninth to birdies on the third, fifth and 16th in a 68.

Pavan signed for a 66 with Sullivan going one better to sit a shot ahead of another Anglo-Italian pair in Evans and Francesco Laporta.

Australian Lucas Herbert was seven under, a shot clear of England's Steven Brown and Finn Mikko Korhonen.

Pontus Widegren made the 15th hole-in-one of the season as the Swede holed a six iron from 167 yards on the 15th.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LAGERGREN, JoakimSWE18-16
2LORENZO-VERA, MikeFRA18-16
T3HERBERT, LucasAUS18-15
T3SULLIVAN, AndyENG18-15
5BJERREGAARD, LucasDEN18-14
6GUERRIER, JulienFRA18-13

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