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Sami Välimäki and Matt Wallace tied at the top in Prague

Sami Välimäki and Matt Wallace tied at the top in Prague

Sami Välimäki and Matt Wallace will share the lead heading into the final round of the D+D Real Czech Masters after an enthralling Moving Day in Prague.

The playing partners started the day two shots off the lead and matched each other blow for blow in carding a pair of 67s to get to 16 under and lead the way by one from Dane Nicolai Højgaard.

The trio - all of whom are looking to impress Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald ahead of him making his six picks in nine days' time - have seven DP World Tour wins between them and the stage is set for a dramatic final round at Albatross Golf Resort.

Dutchman Wil Besseling was one of several players to hold a share of the lead on day three and he finished at 14 under, one clear of German pair Nick Bachem and Maximilian Schmitt, England's Todd Clements, Japanese Ryo Hisatsune and Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti.

Wallace followed up Friday's 63 with a solid effort containing six birdies and a single bogey as he looks for a fifth DP World Tour win and first since the Made In Denmark five years ago, his third victory of 2018.

That form was not enough to earn him a place in the team to take on the United States at Le Golf National but after sealing a first triumph on the PGA TOUR earlier this year, he appears to be peaking at the right time to stake another claim.

"Three holes there in the middle that could have really derailed me in the past," said the Englishman. "I’d like to say a future Matt can deal with those sorts of things quite well. I’m dealing with them pretty good now. I still feel like I’m going to be in contention, got through that sticky patch and managed to finish strong.

"There have been a few winners up at the top of this leaderboard this week but I’d like to say I think I’ve got the most. I can get the job done, so I know that. I know what I’m going to do now in preparation for tomorrow that gets me in the best mindset. I know that I can win, that’s the beauty of this game."

Välimäki - who also carded six birdies and a bogey in his 67 - claimed his only DP World Tour title to date at the 2020 Oman Open, the same year he won the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award.

The Finn could not match those heights in the following two seasons but has two runner-up finishes this term to sit inside the top 30 on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex.

"I played really solid all day," he said. "I hit the ball nicely off the tee. Of course a couple of bad shots with my approaches, but the rest of them were really good. I had a lot of birdie chances, I just couldn’t make all of them. The greens were a bit softer, that’s why it was easier to control the ball. It didn’t release at all, so maybe that helped.

"It’s always nice when you’re playing good. I feel like I have a good chance tomorrow to win the tournament."

Højgaard was quickly into a share of the lead as he got up and down on the par-five first and while he bogeyed the second to sit in an eight-way tie at the top, another birdie thanks to a 32-foot putt at third had him leading alone.

Välimäki had also got up and down at the first and he added another gain from six feet at the fourth to join the lead, where he sat alongside playing partner Wallace, who holed from 17 feet at the third and left himself just five feet at the fourth.

Wallace led alone as he drove to the side of the green at the par-four sixth but he soon had company and Højgaard was among it as he bounced back from a bogey at the fourth by birdieing the sixth in similar style to Wallace and putting a brilliant tee-shot to two feet at the seventh.

Besseling had holed from inside 15 feet at the second and fifth and made another gain from 20 feet at the seventh before he chipped in for an eagle at the tenth to join the lead.

A tap-in at the fourth had him alone at the top but as had been the theme of the day, he would not be on his own for long.

Välimäki made smart up-and-downs at the tenth and 12th, with Højgaard also missing the green but making his birdie at the latter par five.

Wallace had dropped a shot with a three-putt on the 11th but he hit back with a two-putt gain on the 12th and then put his tee-shot to five feet at the par-three next.

An approach to seven feet at the 14th put Välimäki on top but he gave the shot straight back, with Wallace hitting the front with an 18-footer on the 17th.

Välimäki was back in a share after making a nerveless 13-foot putt on the last and Højgaard had a chance to make it a leading trio but left his six-footer on the 18th short as he signed for a 69.

Besseling bogeyed the 17th in a 67, a score matched by Bachem, while Zanotti carded a 65, Schmitt signed for a 68 and Clements and Hisatsune both got round in 69.

German pair Alexander Knappe and Freddy Schott, Dane Thorbjørn Olesen and Frenchman Antoine Rzoner were four shots off the lead.

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