Kennedy holds slender lead in Canary Islands

10/1/2011 6:34:21 PM

Englishman Lloyd Kennedy will take a one shot lead into the final round of the Fred Olsen Challenge de España in the Canary Islands after carding a six under par 65 on day three.

At 19 under par for the tournament at Tecina Golf, the 26 year old is just ahead of compatriot Matt Baldwin and Spaniard Pedro Oriol, who had a flawless 64, while Italian Alessandro Tadini is a further shot back at 17 under.

With only three events remaining on the Challenge Tour schedule after this week, the pressure is building for a place in the top 20 of the Rankings and subsequent promotion to The European Tour.

Kennedy was 66th heading into the €150,000 tournament, but if he felt the pressure it did not show as he racked up five birdies on the front nine and two more, against one bogey, on the way back. He has never won on the Challenge Tour and has had two top tens this season.

He said: "I played great and had a good start. I played a bit better than the last couple of days. I feel on the course. I kept playing my game and giving myself chances. Tomorrow I will try to score lower, make no bogeys and try to do the same thing I have been doing.

“Today I hit it very close to the pin and I holed a long 25-feet putt for birdie on the 15th. There is still a long way to go and there are many players around the lead. I was in this position this year in England (the English Challenge in July), but I never made it. It could be this week.”

Oriol attributed his impressive score to a change in putter which has turned around his fortunes on the greens.

He said: “I’ve struggled with putting all season and I am trying a new putter this week which seems to be working well. I’m happy with it. All aspects of my game are very good and I’m feeling calm.

“Tomorrow I will just play my game. There are many players who will try to make a strong start. This is the first time this year I am in a position to win.

“This course suits my game very well. I have always played well here. There must be something in the Canary Islands that makes me feels very well because I have won amateur tournaments here and played very well at professional tournaments also. Winning here would mean a radical change in my life.”

Baldwin, who like his rivals Oriol and Kennedy has yet to taste victory on the Challenge Tour, said: “I had a couple of loose tee shots but I managed to put myself in a good position for tomorrow.

“I have made tons of birdies this week and I will try to keep on my game. A win here would secure a European Tour card for next season. I have been in this position a couple of times this year and unfortunately could not make it yet.”