Road to Mallorca Number One Santiago Tarrio has automatic graduation to the European Tour in his sights as he heads into the final round of the Italian Challenge with a share of the lead.
The Spaniard posted a two under par round of 69 to join Austria’s Lukas Nemecz on 11 under par after 54 holes at Magara Golf Club and now has the opportunity to add a third win of the year to his victories in the D+D Real Czech Challenge and the Challenge de Espana and subsequently earn automatic promotion to the European Tour.
The leaders are two strokes clear of 2014 Rankings winner Ricardo Gouveia, who sits third on nine under par, and with a chance of joining the Challenge Tour’s most exclusive club with victory tomorrow, Tarrio credits an improvement on his mental strength for his superb 2021 form.
“Mentally I feel better than in previous years,” he said. “I have improved the mental side of my game and I try to enjoy it more out there. It’s easier to play well when you are happy, and my putting has definitely got stronger which is key.
“I’m very happy with today’s round because the course was very tough today with the wind and the pin positions. As the pins are on the corners it is so hard to judge the distance and you only have about five or six metres to aim for. I didn’t play my best but I made some good up and downs.”
Nemecz birdied his last three holes to post a four under par round of 67 and is in a strong position to secure his best finish of the season.
“I haven’t been very happy with how I have performed this season, but my putting has been good in recent weeks,” he said. “I knew that my long game would come again because that has always been a strength. My long game was decent today and my putter was really hot which is so important this week as greens are fast. I’m looking forward to the final round tomorrow.
“The pins were really difficult and that’s why there were not many low scores today. The wind has picked up a lot and it made the course very interesting. I think my strategy worked and if I keep holing putts, I will have a good chance tomorrow.”
Frenchman Ugo Coussaud posted a five under par round of 66 and shares fourth place on eight under par with Italian Jacopo Vecchi Fossa and Spaniard Manuel Elvira.
Four players share seventh place on seven under par, including round two leader Frederic Lacroix, England’s Nathan Kimsey, Spain’s Angel Hidalgo and Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open winner JC Ritchie, of South Africa.
The final round of the Italian Challenge will begin at 8:00am local time, with Nemecz and Tarrio teeing it up alongside Gouveia in the final group at 9:55am.