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Højgaard goes low to take control at Cazoo Classic

Højgaard goes low to take control at Cazoo Classic

Rasmus Højgaard matched the lowest round of his European Tour career with a 62 to take a three shot lead into the final round of the 2021 Cazoo Classic.

Rasmus Højgaard

The Dane started the day at London Golf Club six shots off top spot but his stunning ten under par bogey free effort moved him to 14 under ahead of Scot Calum Hill and England's Jordan Smith, both of whom carded rounds of 70.

English duo Richard Bland and Dale Whitnell were then at ten under, a shot clear of Welshman Jamie Donaldson, Scottish pair David Drysdale and Richie Ramsay, French Ryder Cup hopeful Victor Perez and Dutchman Lars van Meijel.

After becoming the first player born in the 21st century to graduate from the Qualifying School in 2019, Højgaard claimed a maiden European Tour win in just his fifth start at the 2020 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, becoming the third youngest winner in Tour history.

Another victory followed at the 2020 ISPS Handa UK Championship as he made it two wins before the age of 20 and finished 16th on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex.

The 20-year-old enjoyed two top tens on the Desert Swing at the start of the 2021 Race to Dubai and while he has yet to secure another, his lowest ever round to par on the European Tour has put him in pole position for win number three.

"I drove the ball way better today than I did in the first couple of days," he said. "So I was putting myself in position and I could be aggressive from the fairway, holed putts from everywhere basically and then I had a spell on the back nine where I was really stressed.

"We were on the clock so I probably rushed a couple of shots but then I finished strongly so I’m very happy.

"I think if you drive the ball well here you can shoot a good score so that’s the main focus tomorrow. If you get it on the fairway you just take it from there but it’s pretty straightforward when you’re in the fairway, so I think that will be the key, to drive it well."

Højgaard started his day in positive fashion, putting a shot from a fairway bunker to six feet at the first and a tee shot to five feet at the par three third.

He then hit the green in two at the par five fifth, put an approach to nine feet at the next, holed a 30 footer from the fringe at the seventh and got up and down from a bunker to join the lead at the eighth.

I think if you drive the ball well here you can shoot a good score so that’s the main focus tomorrow

Smith put his tee shot to four feet at the third to take a share and he and Højgaard then went toe to toe as they pulled away from the field.

The 28-year-old holed a ten footer on the fourth before Højgaard took advantage of the 12th, with Smith hitting the green in two at the fifth and his rival driving the par four 13th.

Smith then made it five birdies in a row with a 20 footer from the fringe on the sixth and a tee shot to 14 feet on the seventh to lead by two at 14 under.

Højgaard was far from done, however, and he holed a monster from 37 feet at the 17th and then a 25 footer on the last to complete his course record effort and share the lead.

A poor chip on the tenth and a knifed bunker shot on the 11th then brought Smith's first bogeys of the week and all of a sudden Højgaard was two ahead.

Another bogey at the 14th extended the lead to three and while Smith hit back with a nice chip on the 15th to set up a birdie, he could not get up and down from the sand on the 17th.

Hill was bogey free but could make just two birdies, putting an approach to four feet at the ninth and almost holing out from nasty rough on the 13th to set up a four footer.

Bland got up and down from the sand on the fifth and 12th and played a nice chip on the 15th to birdie three of the par fives but three putted the ninth in his 70.

Overnight leader Whitnell endured a roller coaster of a 72 as he overcame bogeys on the second and sixth with a tee shot to six feet on the seventh and a two putt birdie on the 12th.

He found water on the 13th for a double bogey to undo that good work but played a smart chip on the 15th and put his approach to three feet at the last to get back level on the day.

Donaldson and Van Meijel carded rounds of 66, Drysdale and Ramsay both signed for a 67 and Perez recorded a 68.

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