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Jordan Smith leads by two in Portugal after Saturday 62

Jordan Smith leads by two in Portugal after Saturday 62

Jordan Smith remains on course for a wire-to-wire victory at the 2022 Portugal Masters after producing a brilliant 62 on Saturday to head into the final round with a two-shot lead.


The Englishman played beautifully on day three, chipping in for an eagle from the rough at the 15th as well as carding eight birdies and just the one bogey to reach 22 under par.

Fellow halfway co-leader Gavin Green did his best to stick with Smith on another day of low scoring, carding an eagle, six birdies and one bogey in a stunning 64, but could not stop his playing partner from building up a decent cushion ahead of the last round.

Smith has enjoyed a wonderful 2022 campaign so far, recording two runner-up finishes, but has yet to win a title this year - with his only DP World Tour crown coming at the 2017 Porsche European Open.

The 29-year-old also has a top-ten spot on the DP World Tour Rankings in Partnership with Rolex in his sights, having started the week 14th in the standings.

Green was Smith's closest challenger on 20 under, three clear of third-placed Sebastian Heisele, who is preparing to play his last DP World Tour round ahead of his retirement from playing.

The German, who will move into coaching after Sunday's final round, made an eagle and four birdies in his third-round 65 to give himself a great chance of finishing on a high.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who began the week 160th on the Rankings, some way shy of the magic mark of 117th, is among those in a tie for fourth on 15 under as he battles to retain his card.

Smith began the day alongside Green at the summit and opened his birdie account at the second, draining a slow 11-foot putt, before making it two in a row from 45 feet on the third green.

He completed his hat-trick at the fourth before sending his tee-shot at the par-three eighth to six feet and converting the birdie putt to head to the turn with a two-shot lead.

A marvellous display of distance control set up another birdie on the 11th before he picked up his sixth shot of the day from close range at the 12th.

Smith converted his 12-foot birdie putt at the 14th to move to double figures under par before holing his chip shot from a tricky spot in the rough on the 15th for a miraculous eagle.

The fans in Vilamoura must have been wondering just how low Smith could go, as he sat on 22 under with three holes of his third round still to complete.

A five-foot birdie at the 17th briefly moved him to 23 under before a closing bogey meant he had to settle for a two-stroke advantage.

After clinching his best-ever 54-hole total by six shots, Smith said: "It’s a lot of good stuff. It’s the best I’ve putted for a long, long time. I just needed one more roll on the last so I’m really disappointed about that. 

"I’m close to my best.

"If (the win) happens, then brilliant, it’s the cherry on the cake this year. If it doesn’t then there’s going to be another week when it might happen. 

"I’m just going to go out there and play the attacking golf that I’ve done the last three days, hitting driver everywhere and taking advantage of the soft greens. If it happens, it happens."

Green has stressed the importance of staying in the moment on Sunday as he goes for his maiden win.

He said: "It would mean the world (to win).

"Everybody is going to want to win, but I think staying in the present and the process is the most important thing for me tomorrow."

Heisele said: "Retirement incoming. Tomorrow’s going to be my last round and I’m just here to enjoy myself really.

"(A win) isn’t going to change anything to me. I’m going to be moving on to coaching, I got my certificate two weeks ago.

"Happy days for me. I’ve loved my time here, but that’s going to be it."

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