Saltman’s Roller Coaster Round Sets Up Final Round Battle

6/26/2010 7:30:39 PM
Elliott Saltman  (EuropeanTour)
Elliott Saltman (EuropeanTour)
Saturday was a roller coaster ride for overnight leader Elliot Saltman as bogeys outweighed birdies and his five-stroke lead was cut to two at the Fred Olsen Challenge de España.
After such a dominant display over the first two rounds, the Scotsman will hope that today is not a sign of things to come and that his slender lead over home favourite Alvaro Velasco and England’s Jamie Little will be enough for him to claim victory on Sunday.
He said: “It was not an easy day today, and the wind and pins made it a lot tougher. I played with more nerves and spent too much time looking at leaderboards. Tomorrow I will have to focus more on my own game.
”I didn’t putt as well, missing a short one for par at the first, but I was pleased with the birdies on three, six and nine. I took a step back with three putts on 10 and 12 and the double at 16, but still managed to finish well with two birdies.”
Velasco was not able to finish as strongly as Saltman after making a bogey on 18, but his three under par round has put him in position to contend on Sunday and that was exactly what he was looking for.
He said: “It has been a positive round even though I have a bad taste in my mouth finishing with a bogey. The pins were very delicate today and there were not many chances for birdies out there.
“As professionals we always want to be in contention going into the final round. I have been there a couple of times this year and not finished it off. Tomorrow we will have to play well and fight for the win.”
With the leaderboard now much closer a fight is what Velasco will get as those at the front try to strike that knock-out blow.
The second placed Spaniard will not be the only one swinging the punches come the final round though as a further five moved into the top 10 with Jordi Garcia Pinto and Manuel Quiros only three shots back.
The tournament is closer than he would have wanted but Saltman still remains philosophical about it all and believes that he won’t have to replicate his early form this week to claim the title.
He said: “I still have a lot of positive thoughts for tomorrow, and just need to go home and analyse what went wrong. My mental side was still very good to recover from my start to the back nine. I think two or three under will be enough for tomorrow.”