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Saturday, 24 August 2019
Erik van Rooyen  (Getty Images)
Erik van Rooyen (Getty Images)

Erik van Rooyen once again found himself in contention for a maiden European Tour victory as he birdied five of his last six holes to take a one shot lead into the final round of the Scandinavian Invitation.

The South African was the European Challenge Tour Graduate of the Year last season with five top tens and he has already matched that total this term, with two second place finishes.

He arrived at Hills Golf & Sports Club fresh off a top five at the D+D Real Czech Masters and a third round 64 in Gothenburg moved him to 13 under, one clear of Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick, Australia's Wade Ormsby and China's Wu Ashun.

Overnight leader Fitzpatrick had looked in control for most of the day but dropped three shots in as many holes from the 14th before a closing eagle from off the green handed him a 69.

Ormsby had opened his week with a 62 but followed it with a 71 before registering a 65 on day three, while Wu was a picture of consistency in his 67.

South Africa's Dean Burmester matched the lowest round of the week with a 62 to get to ten under alongside local hero Henrik Stenson, Welshman Jamie Donaldson, France's Alexander Levy and Irishman Gavin Moynihan.

Van Rooyen linked up with Alex Gaugert earlier this season - hiring his former University of Minnesota team-mate as his caddie - and the 29-year-old has no problem giving his bagman plenty of credit.

"It was a little scrappy on the front so I didn't feel like it was going to be a 29," he said. "I was quite surprised and really happy.

"A caddie for me isn't just a guy that carries the bag and then goes and has a few beers after the round. For me, it's just as important as the rest of the stuff that I do.

"We've known each other for a very long time so he knows me really well. He knows when to kick me in the butt when I need it and tell me not to be a child on the golf course and he also knows when to say, 'dude, really well done'. We're a great team."

Fitzpatrick made an excellent up-and-down from the sand at the par five third to extend his lead to three but he found a nasty lie at the sixth and with Wu hitting a stunning approach into the seventh, the advantage was one shot.

Another excellent approach after laying up on the par five eighth then helped move Wu to 11 under but Fitzpatrick also capitalised after hitting the green in two.

Wu got up and down from a bunker to birdie the 12th and Fitzpatrick also picked up a shot after driving the short par four.

An excellent tee shot into the 13th moved Wu to 13 under and he and Fitzpatrick were three ahead of their nearest challengers but some big finishes were on the way.

After starting bogey-bogey, Ormsby birdied the third and fifth to turn in level par and then picked up shots on the tenth, 13th, 14th, 16th and 17th to set the target at 12 under.

Van Rooyen bounced straight back from bogeys on the second and fifth and another birdie at the eighth saw him turn in 35.

A 12 footer on the 13th set the ball rolling on his back nine and he holed from ten feet on the next before hitting an excellent tee shot into the par three 15th.

An approach to eight feet at the 17th then moved him to 12 under and into a four way tie for the lead.

Wu had dropped his only shot of the day on the 14th and Fitzpatrick repeated the trick before hitting a tree off the 16th tee and surrendering a double bogey.

Van Rooyen got on the par five last in two and an excellent two putt handed him the solo lead before Fitzpatrick holed from just off the final green for a closing eagle.

Donaldson carded a 63, one stroke more than Moynihan, while Levy made six birdies in a row from the seventh in a 66.

Stenson double bogeyed the first but a long putt on the third brought the biggest cheer of the day in a 69, and he was a shot clear of American John Catlin, Belgian Thomas Detry and Englishman Matthew Southgate.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1VAN ROOYEN, ErikRSA18-19
2FITZPATRICK, MatthewENG18-18
T3STENSON, HenrikSWE18-14
T3BURMESTER, DeanRSA18-14
T5SODERBERG, SebastianSWE18-13
T5KIM, SihwanUSA18-13

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