For the second consecutive year, Daan Huizing will take a one stroke lead into the final round of the Hauts de France – Pas de Calais Golf Open.
Last year, the Dutchman struggled on the final day, missing out on a play-off, which was won by Welshman Stuart Manley. The year prior, he carded the course record in the second round, but was unable to crack the top ten, while in 2016, he was in with a chance to win coming down the stretch but was unable to get over the line, ultimately settling for a share of fourth place.
Having been in this exact position at Aa Saint-Omer Golf Club only one year ago, Huizing feels he is better prepared for a pressure-packed final 18-holes.
“The last three years I’ve been really good here,” he said. “I think this time it’s mostly about staying calm and sticking to my game plan and making good decisions.
“That’s what I’ve been doing well to get here and that’s what I didn’t do well the other times when I was here, so it’s pretty easy actually—stay sharp and play well.
“It’s going to be a good shoot-out tomorrow, but I can only focus on myself.”
The 28-year-old will also be able to lean on his recent success at the Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla, where he posted an eight under par 64 in the first round and then emerged victorious after a tight battle down the stretch against Ladies European Tour player Meghan MacLaren.
“When you’re playing for a tournament there’s always pressure involved, and I dealt with it really well in Jordan,” he said. “That was a big tournament and I was proud of the way I handled myself there. You take those feelings and you take that experience and it’s showtime again tomorrow.”
It appeared Huizing might be coming undone early on today when he carded a double bogey on his fourth hole, but he was able to settle himself down with a string of pars and then rattled off three-straight birdies on the eighth, ninth and tenth holes to re-establish himself as the front-runner at the Hauts de France – Pas de Calais Golf Open.
If he is to go on to victory, the Soest resident will have to overcome his playing partner Robin Roussel of France, who sits only one shot back, and will garner tremendous support from the home crowds.
“The French understandably love their home guys, and Robin played well today, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow—it’s always good when you get some nice crowds.”
Roussel was rock-solid on moving day in a bogey-free round that featured four birdies. The Paris native, who is currently inside the coveted top 15 on the European Challenge Tour Rankings, will have extra motivation as he chases his first win, and the important Ranking points that would assist his goal of graduating to the European Tour.
Alone in third place, just two shots back, is Richard Bland, who carded the low-round of the day—a seven under par 64, which was also bogey-free. The 46-year-old finished in a tie for second at last week’s Swiss Challenge Presented by Swiss Golf and currently sits in fourth on the Rankings.
The Englishman will also have plenty to play for tomorrow as he eyes a return to the European Tour where he has competed for the previous ten consecutive seasons.
The final round of the Hauts de France – Pas de Calais Golf Open will begin at 8:10 am with the final group of Huizing, Roussel and Bland set to go at 11:55 am.