Andrew Wilson will take a one stroke lead into the final day of the Open de Portugal at Royal Óbidos after carding an impressive seven under par bogey-free 65 on moving day.
The Englishman birdied hole seven and nine to make the turn two under par before adding five more birdies on the back nine including one at each of his final three holes to reach 15 under par for the week. He'll go into the final day one clear of countryman Marco Penge who occupies solo second.
The 29-year-old, who is making just his second appearance on the Challenge Tour this year having played most of the season on the DP World Tour, has been targetting a win ever since he arrived in Portugal.
“I haven't played on the Challenge Tour for the most part of the year and I need a win to get into the top 45 or top 70,” he said.
“The one aim for this week was to win. Today I just wanted to go out there and put myself in a good position for tomorrow and I've done that, so I'm all smiles.
“On the front nine you just need to stay patient and try to make pars. The back nine then really opens up. I feel like you can score better on the back nine which is what I did well today.”
Wilson, who could climb into the top 50 in the Road to Mallorca Rankings with a win, has struggled to find his best form in 2023 but has made changes in recent weeks that he feels are having an immediate impact.
“I had the mentality a month or so ago that I wouldn't practice as much, but that didn't work out for me,” he added. “Now I've started working hard, and started working with a new psychologist which has probably been the difference.
“I enjoyed competing out there. I'm now doing what I feel comfortable with, keeping my routines, and doing enough work away from the course so that I feel confident when I'm on the course.”
Overnight leader Manuel Elvira from Spain and Poland’s Mateusz Gradecki share third place on 12 under par, with American Julian Suri, Welshman Oliver Farr and Frenchman Félix Mory one stroke further behind in fifth.
The final round gets under way at 8:00am local time with Wilson teeing off alongside Penge and Gradecki at 10:00am.