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Honkala homing in on maiden victory in Copenhagen 

Honkala homing in on maiden victory in Copenhagen 

Matias Honkala will take a six-shot lead into the final round of the Copenhagen Challenge presented by Ejner Hessel as he goes in search of a maiden European Challenge Tour title.

Matias Honkala

The Finn, whose best result on the circuit was a share of third place at the 2021 Euram Bank Open, is 18 holes away from claiming his first win on the Tour after carding a third round of 67 to move to 12 under par, with Italians Matteo Manassero and Andrea Pavan, who share six DP World Tour wins between them, in second place alongside Casey Jarvis of South Africa.

With the chance to become the ninth first-time winner on the Challenge Tour this season, Honkala is aiming to remain calm and focus on his game.

“I can’t say I won’t think about tomorrow and potentially winning, but it’s going to be a fight that’s for sure,” he said.

“I made a birdie on number two and that settled my nerves a little bit. There wasn’t a point during today that I felt really comfortable with my game, but I kept going and managed to shoot a good round.

“I hit some good iron shots on seven and eight and made a couple of easy birdies there. But I wouldn’t say there was anything particularly special today. My driver wasn’t the best today and I didn’t hit too many fairways but kept the ball in play – I wasn’t in any problems.

“It’s been really tricky over the last two days with the conditions. It was really windy yesterday, but it was much nicer weather to play in today.”

He started the day a shot behind overnight leader Alexander George Frances of Denmark but made a strong start to his third round at Royal Golf Club in Copenhagen. The 24-year-old registered three birdies in a bogey-free front nine, which saw him hold a two-shot lead at the turn.

His only dropped shot of the day came at the 12th but he responded with a gain at the 14th before he closed out his round with a birdie-birdie finish for a second successive five under par round.

Pavan equalled the Finn’s 67, finishing birdie-eagle to jump up the leaderboard into a share of second, while Sweden’s Charlie Lindh closes out the top five a further shot back at five under par.

The final round begins at 7:15am local time, with Honkala teeing off alongside Manassero and Pavan at 9:16am.

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