Bernd Wiesberger (Getty Images)
Bernd Wiesberger took complete control of the Ballantine’s Championship as a second consecutive 65 left him five shots clear at Blackstone Golf Club.
One clear of 2010 champion Marcus Fraser overnight, Wiesberger matched his own course record to reach 14 under par.
“I think that's what we call a great day at the office,” the Austrian said afterwards. “It was fun out there. It was nice conditions again like yesterday, and really nice set up for the course. I enjoyed myself out there, made a lot of putts and that was the key to another perfect day.”
A 15 footer for birdie at the fourth and a five foot putt at the sixth kept him ahead on the front nine, and he forged clear with a spectacular inward 31.
The 26 year old barely missed a putt after the turn, holing a 12 footer for birdie at the tenth, converting from ten feet for another gain at the 12th, then preventing a first dropped shot in 36 holes by saving par from 15 feet at the 13th.
That was followed by a brilliant downhill 20 footer for birdie at the 14th, and Wiesberger displayed his all-round talents with a tee shot to two feet at the 16th and a chip to within a foot at the last.
“Out there on the greens I really felt like I saw the lines perfectly today and I putted the ball nicely,” added Wiesberger, who won twice on The Challenge Tour in 2010 and was a runner-up twice on The European Tour last year.
“It feels like I'm getting into position more often, and played well when I was in those positions in the last half of the year last year. It was a good preparation the last two years, and I hope it pays off tomorrow.”
Australian Fraser played some fine golf in his 69, but in contrast to his playing partner struggled to get the putter going and now has five shots to make up in the final round.
Chile’s Felipe Aguilar (68) and England’s Oliver Fisher (67) share third on eight under, with Ryder Cup veterans Miguel Angel Jiménez and Paul McGinley a shot further back.
But they will all need something special to catch Wiesberger and Fraser certainly feels it will be difficult to stop the runaway leader claiming his first European Tour title.
“I felt really comfortable out there, hit a lot of good shots inside 20 feet, and just couldn't get anything going,” said the 33 year old.
“I hit putts where I was wanting to hit them, but they just weren't taking the break.
“I felt like I was playing chase out there most of the day and trying to keep up. Bernd is playing great - so much game and definitely a star of The European Tour to come. He's obviously a great player now but he's got big things in front of him, that's for sure.
“It reflects the way he's playing. He played great here and gives himself a chance on every hole and he's a great putter, as well.
“If I was a betting man, I would put the house on him. He's just played so well and looks very comfortable.”