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Dylan Frittelli moves ahead in Bahrain

Dylan Frittelli moves ahead in Bahrain

Dylan Frittelli matched the lowest round of the day with a 69 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Bahrain Championship presented by Bapco Energies.

The South African entered the weekend with a share of the lead and while it was not quite as windy as it had been on day two, there were still testing conditions for the field at Royal Golf Club.

That showed in the early stages as the lead moved backwards but Frittelli made a hat-trick of birdies around the turn and forged ahead, moving to 12 under and clear of countryman Ockie Strydom.

Strydom also carded a 69 to sit at ten under, one clear of Swede Jesper Svensson who signed for a 72, with seven players then five shots off the lead.

Frittelli was a European Challenge Tour graduate in 2016 and made an instant impact in his first year on the DP World Tour, winning the LYONESS OPEN powered by ORGANIC+ and then the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open - which was part of the 2018 season.

The University of Texas alumnus - who holed the winning putt as the Longhorns won the national championship in 2012 - claimed a PGA Tour card to return to the United States in 2018 and impressed again, winning the 2019 John Deere Classic.

He endured a difficult 2023, however, and has taken up a route back onto the DP World Tour for those who finished outside the top 125 on the FedExCup Fall Points List, securing two top 20s in six events so far.

"I'm happy, it was another tough day in the wind and I seemed to handle it pretty well," he said. "It's a pity about the two bogeys I made out there but I fought really hard today.

"I was struggling the first seven or eight holes to make a putt but then finally got one to go on eight, then nine was an easy birdie and ten was a pretty easy putt as well.

"It was not easy, it probably looked easy on TV but there was a lot of shots crosswind and downwind and I had to trust my numbers and my shot shape and I seemed to execute pretty well today.

"The main thing is just to be aggressive, it's easy to get conservative when the wind is blowing and lay up and hit some soft shots but I'm just going to try and make as many birdies as I can tomorrow.

"One shot clear I'll try and make it two and if I'm two shots clear I'll try and make it three, that's the goal and my mindset tomorrow."

Frittelli found himself alone at the top as his fellow overnight leaders Svensson and Joel Girrbach three-putted the third and first, respectively.

He made a bogey of his own on the fourth after sending his tee-shot a long way right and was out of the lead as the charging Niklas Nørgaard made a 20-footer for eagle on the ninth and left himself eight feet for birdie on the tenth.

The 33-year-old was back in a share after a lovely pitch to close range at the eighth and with Nørgaard three-putting the 11th, he was alone on top.

A two-putt gain on the ninth and a nice up and down from the sand at the tenth moved him to 11 under and two clear but Strydom and Svensson were giving chase.

Strydom had turned in level par with two bogeys and two birdies but he came to life after the turn, playing a smart pitch to the 11th, holing from 25 feet on the 12th and taking advantage of the par-five 14th after laying up.

That left him one back where he was soon joined by Svensson, who followed a two-putt birdie on the ninth with a tee-shot to five feet on 12th.

Frittelli then moved two ahead with a birdie on the 14th after having 14 feet for eagle, with Svensson three-putting to drop a shot on the same hole.

A tee-shot to 13 feet on the 16th had Frittelli three ahead and he saved par despite finding water on the 17th before dropping a shot on the last.

Swiss Girrbach, Dane Nørgaard, England's Sam Bairstow, Spaniard Sebastian Garcia, Scotland's Scott Jamieson, Frenchman Frederic Lacroix and South African Zander Lombard were at seven under.

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