David Frost birdied two of the last three holes to take a four shot lead into the final round of the MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius after a five under par 67 at Constance Belle Mare Plage.
The South African, who was runner up to Tom Lehman last year, is looking for his second win over the Legend Course after capturing the MCB Open in December 2010, defeating Roger Chapman in a play-off.
On that occasion he took a two-stroke lead into the final round, but had to eagle the final hole to take the tournament to a play-off before clinching the title on the second extra hole.
He will be hoping it proves to be more comfortable this time round after carding six birdies to move to 13 under par 131 for the tournament after crucial birdies on the 16th and 18th holes pulled him away from the chasing pack. But the 53 year old is wary of the dual threat posed by American Tim Thelen, who matched his 67 to lie four shots back in second position on nine under par 135, and Englishman Barry Lane, who posted a 66 and is a shot further back on eight under par 136.
“I played steady golf today and hit a lot of good shots out there today,” he said. “I really played well. I missed a couple of short putts but made some long ones, so it all evens itself out.
“I’m in a good position going into tomorrow and I just need to hit keeping those good shots and hold the nerve together.
“My swing feels comfortable though. You have to just stay in the moment.
“Every tournament you win has a special time and place for you and obviously I’ve won here before. If it gets to that and I win again it would be great. Barry and Tim are both great players. It is easy for me to think about them, or them think about me, but we all just have to focus on our own games.”
Thelen and Lane will also be battling to finish second on the Senior Tour Order of Merit, with Lane currently €8,517 ahead of his rival, and €12,563 the difference between second and third place in the season-ending tournament.
After three birdies on the front nine, Thelen eagled the par five 13th hole courtesy of a superb three iron approach from 221yards which rolled back to two-and-a-half feet from the pin.
“I had a much better ball striking round today,” he said. “David played unbelievable today though. Having a four shot lead, I’m not sure I can catch him. He’s playing that well and putting even better. He is a fantastic player.
“It’s a course where there can be a swing in scoring, but I’ve not seen him hit a bad shot yet.
“I’m not thinking too much about catching Barry in the Order of Merit either. For me it’s just been a great season and if it comes down to the back nine then maybe I will think about it. For me, to finish in the top five on the Senior Tour Order of Merit is a fantastic achievement. I could never have expected that at the start of the year.
“It will be a fun day whatever happens. Playing golf with David and Barry will be great – they are both great guys and great players.”
Former Ryder Cup player Lane dropped a shot on the fourth hole and struggled with his putter initially, but hit back strongly with seven birdies in his final 13 holes.
“I played really well yesterday and didn’t hole anything but today I didn’t play that well to be honest,” he said. “I started off pretty poorly and made six on the par five from the fairway, missing from four foot, and five foot on the next hole.
“I have a cross on my putter which I put on a couple of weeks ago to help get the face level, but I abandoned that on the sixth hole and sank a 20ft putt and did the same on the next. I think I was so conscious of the cross and trying to be so precise that I forgot about my stroke.
“From the eighth hole I played some pretty good stuff. I’ve got something to fight for this week. I’ve got to tie or beat Tim because if he finishes second and I finish third then he would beat me by a few thousands Euros. So it should be a good battle tomorrow. I was hoping to birdie the last so I can get into that last group and play alongside him, which will be fun.
“You also have the battle for fourth between Peter Fowler and Paul Wesselingh, so it should be a good day tomorrow. Of course you also have the tournament being contested as well and I feel like I’ve still got a chance in that.
“It’s very easy to shoot level par around here but if you get it going you can also shoot 64 or 65. I’m happy to be up there and I have given myself a chance.”
Fowler and Wesselingh, who are separated by €13,249 in fourth and fifth place respectively in the Order of Merit, are tied for fifth position in the MCB Tour Championship on six under par 138.
Australian Fowler eagled the fourth hole but double bogeyed the sixth en route to a three under par 69, while Wesselingh had the round of the day, a seven under par 65 which included an eagle on the sixth.
Double Senior Major Champion Roger Chapman, who will collect the John Jacobs Trophy on Sunday for winning the Senior Tour Order of Merit, is a shot further back in tied seventh after a round of 69.